Fans Experience Player's POV Through VR

Excitement at ballparks as virtual reality (VR) experience is added

  • by Kendra Andrews
  • Published: April 10, 2017

Opening day at Chase Field, Phoenix, Ariz., was captured by R&R Partners to send to VR headsets in the stadium so fans could experience the game from the players' point of view.

SportTechie digs into the VR trend in sports with a look at initiatives in Seattle and Phoenix.

(Editor's note: These stories appeared previously on SportTechie.com)

Flash back to December when Pixvana, a Seattle software startup, announced a partnership with the Seattle Sounders FC to bring fans the club’s first virtual reality experience. The company provided just a glimpse then of what was to come.

The Sounders last month proceeded to release their virtual reality experience before their home opener against the New York Red Bulls. The VR experience captured the excitement of Sounders' matchday, in addition to the team’s historic turnaround and postseason run that eventually led to its first league title in 2016.

The VR experience is available to fans all season before every Sounders' home match as part of The NINETY’s matchday activities using an HTC Vive VR headset via Pixvana’s SPIN Player.

The experience incorporated footage from five games and also featured never-before-captured, behind-the-scenes moments from in the stands and on the field — as well as from the stage of the club’s MLS Cup Champions March and Rally at Seattle Center.

“Virtual reality has opened up an entirely new way to experience sports and we’re thrilled to be able to share this unique view of the historic 2016 season,” Sounders' chief operating officer Bart Wiley said in a statement. “We have enjoyed working with Pixvana and Intentional Futures in the continuing pursuit of providing our fans with some of the most memorable matchday experiences in the league.”

Pixvana created this experience by taking photos that were stitched together to make a 360-degree view and editing them to make it a video.

“We’re proud to work with the Sounders and Intentional Futures to deliver the most immersive and most high resolution soccer content that’s been captured to date,” Aaron Rhodes, Executive Producer at Pixvana, said in a statement. “A compilation of five games, including the historic MLS Cup win, this VR experience gives viewers incredible access to both the fan experience and the on-field action. Thanks to Intentional Futures, we were also able to incorporate awesome graphics into the footage to create a fun Jumbotron effect throughout.”

Arizona Diamondback fans will now be able to experience baseball from their favorite players’ points of view as well.

The Diamondbacks announced they are partnering with Cox Communications and R&R Partners to bring fans the Cox Connects VR Bullpen area to the main concourse of Chase Field.

The VR experience will allow fans to see through the eyes of pitchers, see what it looks like from the player’s perspective to field a ground ball and catch a fly ball. It will also give people behind-the-scenes looks at the life of a Major League Baseball player.

Cox Connects uses HTC VIVE to showcase content. Fans that are not looking through the headset will be able to see the VR experience on television displays.

This isn’t R&R Partners' first project with bringing sports fans virtual reality experiences. The agency also worked with The Penguins to give fans an exclusive look at the Stanley Cup.

  • by Kendra Andrews
  • Published: April 10, 2017