The NBA has teamed up with NextVR to provide basketball fans with a whole new way of watching the games of their favorite teams.
Through virtual reality, fans can watch NBA games as if they are in the stands, and sometimes, even courtside.
NBA Enters Virtual Reality
"I mean, the players are like, there. I should be touching them but I'm not," said CBS News correspondent Dana Jacobson when she tried out the technology. "It's so clear. I don't know how to describe it. It's just unreal."
Danny Keens, NextVR's VP for content, said that for the first time, the partnership with the NBA provides fans with a way to stream content aside from on a flat screen.
One game per week in the 2016-2017 NBA season will be shown in virtual reality, and to properly capture the games, it is not enough for NextVR to simply put down a VR camera and let it do all the work. Up to eight unmanned cameras with 180-degree views will be set up throughout the arena where the game to be shown in virtual reality will be played. One camera will be on each basket stanchion, and another on the scorers' table at the center of the court.
How To Watch NBA Games On Virtual Reality
To watch NBA games on virtual reality, will need to have the Samsung Gear VR headset with a compatible Samsung smartphone, the free NextVR app, and an NBA League Pass subscription.
Afterwards, watching an NBA game in virtual reality is as simple as launching the NextVR app and selecting the NBA League Pass VR option. After logging in with NBA League Pass credentials, viewers can enjoy a live game or watch highlights from previous games.
To find out about the next NBA game that will be shown in virtual reality, fans can visit the dedicated VR page in the official NBA website.
According to NextVR, more hardware options for virtual reality NBA games will soon be added, as well as improvements in quality to be implemented, as the number of viewers grow.
NBA Players And Tech
The NBA has been exploring different options in terms of partnerships with tech companies, such as for the 2016 NBA Finals when it teamed up with Twitter and Samsung to release 360-degree videos of the series between the Golden State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers.
NBA players themselves have become more involved in the tech industry, with the National Basketball Players Association holding its inaugural NBPA Technology Summit in July, spearheaded by Andre Iguodala of the Warriors.
Former Warriors swingman Harrison Barnes has also been tapped as a Fitbit ambassador, as he promoted the integration of the fitness tracker with NBA 2K17.