Fox Sports, LiveLike to Offer Virtual Suite for Super Bowl LI

Fox Sports and LiveLike will add a dash of VR to Sunday’s Super Bowl matchup between the New England Patriots and the Atlanta Falcons.

They’re teaming up to offer a virtual, digitally-rendered suite during the game that will present highlights from the game in near real-time via the Fox Sports VR app for iOS and Android devices and tight integration with the Samsung Gear VR platform.

They said the VR experience, offered during Super Bowl LI, will enable users to pick from six different cameras placed throughout NRG Stadium in Houston. They expect to provide 20 of the most exciting plays from the game, as well as prepared content for pre- and post-game.

Though use of the app in tandem with Gear VR and Cardboard headsets will provide an immersive 360-degree experience, viewers will also be able to view it via the app without a headset.

Other partners include Avid, which will provide the experience’s augmented reality graphics platform, Twizted-Design (data-driven graphical integrations, EVS (UHD replays technology), and Ateme (multiscreen UHD and HD encoding).

The Super Bowl LI partnership is one of several recent ones between Fox Sports and LiveLike, which also teamed up for MLS Cup late last year, and last fall’s Big Ten championship football game.

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A key difference is that those previous offerings stitched in a live 2D feed of those games into the digital suite. For Super Bowl LI, the intention is to provide the near real-time highlights and to offer a taste of VR, given that many people will be watching the game in relatively large parties.

“I believe this will be the first of many Super Bowls broadcast in VR, making February 5th a historic day for both LiveLike and for the larger VR industry as a whole,” Miheer Walavalkar, co-founder and chief business officer of LiveLike, said in a statement.

“We are thrilled to bring what we believe is the most innovative sports viewing experience to the Super Bowl via the FOX Sports VR app” added Michael Davies, SVP of field & technical operations at Fox Sports. “The LiveLike platform helps us bring viewers inside the stadium for the best moments throughout the game and replay them from the six different camera angles in virtual reality.”