Virtual reality will continue to see an increased role in sporting events.
A few weeks back, I wrote about Intel and their partnership with Olympics. As a part of that deal, they were providing virtual reality feeds of the Olympics on the NBC app or website. March Madness will now be getting very similar treatment thanks to Turner Sports and CBS.
The amount of money CBS is paying the NCAA for broadcasting rights of March Madness has widely been publicized. Typically, games were on one of four networks: CBS, TNT, TBS, and the ever-so-hard to find TruTV. As games start today, this will be the case again, but there will also be a fifth and newer option.
CBS and Turner Sports will be providing a VR option for every single tournament game in the March Madness Live App or on the March Madness website. The VR route will allow fans to pick from different cameras to watch the games like never before.
While the app and website offer free live streaming, the VR option will cost extra. To watch the first two rounds this weekend in VR, it costs $3.00. To extend that to throughout the whole tournament costs $19.99.In the grand scheme of things, it is not that expensive to have access to something very cool.
This VR technology is once again provided by Intel who is also a partner of the NCAA. March Madness is the second major sporting event to offer VR streaming, but it most definitely will not be the last.
1. While millions of people watch the games during this first weekend, the Thursday and Friday games take place during the workday so fewer people are watching on an actual TV. Instead, there is more traffic on live streams and phone apps which is where this VR option will come in handy.
2. This deal connects three different partners: the NCAA, Intel, and CBS/Turner Sports. Think about how you could possibly work with another one of your sponsee's partner to create a great activation.
3. When you watch basketball games on TV, most of the advertising is court-side. But with VR, there are more opportunities and spaces for signage. The NCAA or CBS could sign advertisers for unique spaces only meant for the VR option of watching.
4. CBS' deal with the NCAA for broadcast rights is locked in for several more years. As a result, they have to keep finding ways to innovate and activate their partnership to keep up their ROI. This VR option will provide easily visible KPIs.
5. Technology allows society to creatively deconstruct old ideas and continue to innovate for new ones. As a brand or team, there will forever be new ideas of activation and new opportunities for sponsorship. Always keep your eye out for what the future holds and be ready to pull the trigger.
Below are some pictures showing previous games in VR.
Written by: James Campbell
James Campbell is currently in his Senior year at the University of Michigan. In May of 2018, he will receive his BA degree in Sport Management. Throughout his time at Michigan, he has worked with Detroit City FC, MiLife Sport & Social Club, and USA Hockey. - @Jimmy10Campbell