Fox Sports, NextVR Strike Five-Year Pact

RELATED:'Virtual Reality -- Ready for a Closeup' Webinar, Feb. 24, with Andrew Trickett (Merge VR) and Tony Mugavero (Littlstar), moderated by Next TV editor Jeff Baumgartner

NextVR, a company that specializes in live-action virtual reality broadcast technology, said it has inked a five-year partnership with Fox Sports to collaborate on VR coverage of a range of sporting events.

Financial terms were not announced, but the deal comes on the heels of recent VR tests Fox Sports and NextVR conducted for some of Fox’s boxing and NASCAR coverage, as well as last year’s U.S. Open golf tournament.

Fox and NextVR said the new agreement will include VR-enabled, live broadcast sporting events. Last month, they teamed on Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) matches, and will next focus on Sunday’s Daytona 500.

They said future VR programming from Fox Sports will be announced “soon,” and will be offered on the NextVR portal, which features a section dedicated to Fox Sports. Consumers with the Samsung Gear VR headset can access that content by downloading the NextVR app on any Gear VR-compatible smartphone.

While the business model for VR is still being hammered out, “we know enough about this technology to know that it’s incredibly interesting,”  Michael Davies, senior vice president of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, said in a recent interview for this week's Multichannel News VR cover story. “It’s a very compelling way to view sports.”

“We have worked with FOX Sports for over a year to test live, virtual reality programming across several sports,” Brad Allen, executive chairman, NextVR, said in statement. “This wide-ranging agreement is proof that our technology provides an exciting and compelling option to witness great sporting events in virtual reality.”

 “It’s all about delivering something new and exciting for our viewers,” added Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, chief operating officer and executive producer. “Virtual reality is the next great frontier in immersive experiences for fans across a wide variety of sports. It’s a rapidly changing technology, and this deal with NextVR positions us to be on the front lines for years to come.”