Fox Sports Gears Up for VR, 360 Video

Fox Sports is revving up virtual reality-facing initiatives at Sunday’s Daytona 500.

The network said Toyota has hopped on board to sponsor a set of VR elements for the race in partnership with Next VR, including a “broadcast-quality” live VR feed of the Daytona 500, which gets underway Sunday at 1 p.m. ET. That broadcast will be available for free via the NextVR portal. Additionally, Samsung Gear VR owners can access it by downloading the NextVR app on any Gear VR-compatible smartphone.

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Fox Sports, which just announced a new, five-year deal with NextVR, said it also plans to operate VR cameras situated on the track wall inside the “robo-cage,” within a pit stall, and as part of pre-recorded features from the garage, team hauler and television broadcast truck.

Coverage also includes multiple closed-circuit VR streams from  the speedway on Friday and Saturday, and a VR kiosk manned by Fox Sports and NextVR personnel at the Toyota Fan Injector stadium entrance area.

Fox’s Lab will also capture 360-degree video from a camera embedded in the No. 78 Furniture Row Toyota team of NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Martin Turex Jr., which will be shared across multiple Fox Sports platforms.

“Virtual reality is the next great frontier in storytelling and we are thrilled that Toyota is working with us to bring this experience to race fans,” Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, COO & executive producer, said in a statement.

Elsewhere on Daytona 500’s tech front, Arris said it will provide carrier-class WiFi to most popular fan locations at the speedway’s new motorsports stadium.

Daytona International Speedway, Arris said, is the first NASCAR racetrack to feature carrier-class WiFi.  Arris’s platform at DIS will use the Aptilo Service Management Platform, Benu Networks Mobile Edge Gateway, Ruckus ZoneFlex access points and virtual SmartZone WLAN controller, and Skyline Communications Dataminer  OSS platform.