The NFL has had a rough few years in terms of its reputation both on and off the field. Protests, scandals, accusation of cheating by players, domestic violence, investigations about player health, the building of stadiums with public funds, issues such as discrimination by gender and sexuality. It’s not been good reading for a sport that generates an annual revenue of $9 Billion (USD).
In spite of these issues the NFL has, for several years now, been reevaluating how both casual viewers and hardcore fans take in their product. This led to the surprise announcement that Twitter would be the exclusive streamer of NFL games throughout the present season. As for virtual reality (VR), there have of course already been American Football matches shown in VR highlight packages, notably at collage level. Whilst both Microsoft with the Hololens and new Intel acquisition VOKE had previously been involved in looking at the potential for bringing the sport impressively to the masses. That’s not including the use of VR for training of course, which already has several NFL and college football teams signed up and using the tech.
“We are always looking for new ways to engage with our fans.” Said the NFL’s Senior Vice President of Digital Media Vishal Shah. “Virtual reality is an emerging platform that enables content experiences with a truly unique vantage point that brings fans closer to the game.It’s an exciting new medium to explore as we look to evolve and grow our offerings, and this partnership with Google is an important step in that direction.”
“This series will give fans an opportunity to connect with the NFL like never before, whether they are on YouTube or using Google’s virtual reality headset, Daydream View. We’re thrilled to work with the NFL to capture the series with Jump and bring it to YouTube and Daydream.” Amit Singh, Vice President of Google VR confirmed.
The series is expected to take on all manner of behind the scenes activities from training with the squad, details of a team’s culture and history, right down to following the team’s cheerleader for the day to see what they get up to. As well as the various little things that make the biggest teams in the world tick. Similar to a previous team up for the NFL with Verizon.
The first part is expected on American Thanksgiving which this year Thursday, November 24th. VRFocus will bring you more news regarding VR and sport in the weeks to come. For two stories relating to sport in VR check out yesterday’s weekly sport round-up.