Watch the game on your TV and the VR on your phone to get the full experience
Saturday night the FOX College Football Game of the Week will be Notre Dame heading to East Lansing, to face Michigan State airing 8 p.m. ET and streaming live on the FOX Sports Go app. Complimenting the broadcast will be a Virtual Reality, the experience offered by FOX that is worth checking out and I expect it will change the way, you watch sports going forward into the future.
My guest on this week’s Stream On podcast, is FOX Sports SVP Field & Technical Operations, Michael Davies. I caught up with him in Holland where he was attending a conference in Amsterdam. Davies will be in East Lansing, on Saturday night where he will be part of the production team of around a dozen people from FOX and their VR partners at LiveLike, who will be providing the unique coverage of the game.
Davies on what watching the game in VR will be like: “I think that our form of Virtual Reality is somewhat different than what some people think of when hear the term VR. What we have found is most people enjoy the experience on their phones or their tablets. If you have a VR headset you can of course use it on our app, but if you don’t have the equipment that is fine. As matter of fact most of our viewers like to move their phones around seeing the different panoramic views. There are a couple of complimentary social media tools that allow the viewer to interact with friends during the game that enhances the whole experience. “
Davies on the game coverage: “We will have six dedicated VR cameras that will be located in positions that we feel will give fans the best views of the action on the field. Viewers will have the option of switching between the six cameras themselves or the can take our directors cut feed, where we will switch the cameras for you.
The technical star of the VR broadcast will be a c360 Skycam that will stream 360-degree panoramic footage back to the production truck for use both in the VR coverage as well as the traditional broadcast.
JW note: It is very important to remember that the VR view of the game is a compliment to the traditional FOX Sports broadcast. So, while there is plenty of great things to see when watching the game in VR it is important to make this a two-screen show. Watch the VR on your phone or tablet and the game on your television.
There is a very important social media aspect to the VR coverage by FOX and it will take a little planning. Tell your friends who want to join you Saturday night to download the FOX Sports VR app. Click here if you have an Android phone and here if you want an app for your iPhone or iPad. Once you download the app it will require authentication.
Also, those who wish can check out the VR broadcast by going to the FOX College Football Facebook Page, or their Twitter @CFBONFOX or if you like the FOX Sports Youtube channel. Those four options will allow you to follow the action and interact via social media.
According to FOX sports, when entering the VR experience, users are able to select a “Social” tab and a “Join Friends” button that connects the user to Facebook upon authorization.
At that point, friends who have done the same will pop up on the user’s friends list, creating the opportunity to view the experience in a social environment.
To me, this would be fun because you are in a virtual living room where you can see who is watching with you. Since it is interactive you can chat with your friends and family about the game.
Additionally, the experience can automatically select a viewing partner at random, with viewers having the ability to seamlessly switch Social VR “on” or “off.”
So you have the option to watch with friends or strangers or simply by yourself, which is a cool feature.
Be sure to check out the pre-game festivities, team warm-ups, halftime band performances and post-game celebrations live via the c360 Skycam stream on social platforms, with multi-view, live game action available through the FOX Sports VR app.
We know that FOX has used VR before over the last two years, they have offered more than a dozen major events in VR, including Super Bowl LI, the 2016 & 2017 Big East Men’s Basketball tournaments, 2017 UEFA Champions League Final, 2016 U.S. Open Championship, 2016 MLS Cup, 2017 Gold Cup, 2016 Bundesliga season opener, 2016 Daytona 500, 2016 Big Ten Football Championship and a PBC heavyweight title fight.
But this one will be different and I expect even better than those events before. So, listen to the podcast and watch the game Saturday night.