NextVR to Broadcast Kentucky Derby in VR in Conjunction with NBC
NextVR penned a five-year deal with Fox this year with Fox to broadcast events like Daytona 500 and also co-sponsoring a Sports Business Forum with Turner at CES. Now, they have entered a partnership with NBC to broadcast Saturday’s Kentucky Derby in Virtual Reality, the first ever horse race to be shown in VR. All of this is being done in order to boost the popularity of virtual reality sports broadcasts from NBC’s release.
One of the nation’s most beloved sporting events, The Kentucky Derby, will unfold live in virtual reality for the first time, bringing fans so close to the action they will feel as if they could touch the thoroughbreds as they thunder around the famed Churchill Downs track. NBC Sports Group, with its first foray into live virtual reality, and NextVR, the leader in live-action virtual reality technology, will give viewers intimate access to the race. From the paddock to the track and finishing in the winner’s circle, the drama and pageantry distinguishing this marquee event will be captured live in high-definition virtual reality.
The live virtual reality presentation of NBC’s coverage of the 142nd running of the Kentucky Derby will begin at 4 p.m. Eastern on Saturday, May 7. Two races prior to the Kentucky Derby, including the Woodford Reserve Turf Classic, will also be presented in virtual reality. Saturday’s coverage marks the first-ever horse racing in virtual reality.
“We are excited to bring the pageantry and passion experienced annually by those at the Kentucky Derby even closer to viewers at home with the new medium of live virtual reality,” said Rob Hyland, coordinating producer of NBC Sports Group’s Triple Crown horse racing coverage.
Seven virtual reality cameras will be used for the presentation from Churchill Downs. Five cameras will be placed trackside to capture an uninterrupted view of the race, including one adjacent to the owners’ suites, and two cameras will be in the paddock area to showcase the horses before parading to the starting gate.
The audio feed will include the race call from NBC’s Larry Collmus, who called American Pharoah’s historic Triple Crown victories last year, as well as commentary from NBC announcers Tom Hammond, Jerry Bailey and Randy Moss.
“We’re going to wire our viewers directly into one of the most exciting, spectacular experiences in sports,” said Dave Cole, NextVR co-founder. “This is a show not to miss.”
Just like NextVR’s other broadcasts, only those who have Samsung Gear VR headsets and compatible and compatible phones will be able to be experience the broadcasts. Those who, however, will view the broadcast via the NBC channel and on the NextVR portal will view for free. More information on how to view the broadcast can be gotten from NextVR’s website a lot of influential figures like Mark Cuban and Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president are already throwing their weights behind VR and we are just waiting to see if it will be the next big thing or a trend that will pass. It also interesting that NextVR is working to make these broadcast more widespread. Another sport which looks promising to adopt VR for its broadcast is Horse Racing but this depends on how many people adopt it. We will, however, wait to see how that will go.