Welcome to the future.
The NBA is set to become the first league in American sports to broadcast their games in virtual reality. Partnering with NextVR, the NBA will be broadcasting one game a week in virtual reality, with the first scheduled for next Thursday when the San Antonio Spurs do battle with the Sacramento Kings.
Fortune's Jonathan Vanian reports:
"During the broadcast, the NBA will stream the game in 180-degrees, in which viewers can turn their heads to follow the action, while a graphical display of the game’s statistics will be streamed in another 180-degrees to accompany the broadcast."
According to the press release:
"The VR broadcasts will be fully produced with dedicated announcers, multiple unmanned camera angles and optimized graphics," the NBA said in its press release. "Game breaks will be filled with in-venue entertainment, behind-the-scenes footage from the arena and VR-specific commentary."
Ok, so how do you actually watch the game in virtual reality? At this time, you'll need a Samsung Gear VR headset, Samsung smartphone and an NBA league pass. Additional headset models outside of Samsung will reportedly be compatible with NBA League Pass as the season goes on but initially the VR experience will be powered by Samsung products.
Of course, these virtual reality games will be pay-per-view, but the first one between the Spurs and Kings will be free of charge.