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Turner Sports Teams With Intel for NBA Virtual Reality

Turner Sports said it has signed a multi-year deal to use Intel’s technology to deliver live NBA games in virtual reality, starting with All-Star weekend.

The games will be available to cable and satellite subscribers for free via an authenticated NBA on TNT VR App powered by Intel.

Intel will also be a global provider of virtual reality and 360-degree volumetric video with Intel freeD technology for official NBA broadcast partners globally.

The NBA has jumped into the virtual reality space. Before the season started it announced that its League Pass subscribers will have access to 27 games in VR this season using NextVR technology.

Related: NBA Adds VR Subscription Package to League Pass

“We all recognize that the VR market hasn’t fully materialized, but from the NBA’s point of view, we’d really like to be ready with the best possible experience when it does materialize,” said Jeff Marsilio, vice president, global media distribution, for the NBA. “The partnership represents another opportunity to experiment with a first-class VR technology company in Intel and to work with one of our longest-standing partners in the broadcast space with Turner.”

Marsilio said the NBA sees VR as a way to give fans access they might not otherwise not be able to experience, such as sitting courtside beside big-time celebrities. He says viewing of NBA games in VR is up sharply.

“That means there must have been a lot of progress in the last few months in penetration of the market and maybe, I hope, a lot of progress in the product we’re providing,” he said.

Related: Intel Dumps 'Project Alloy'

The virtual reality games will be different from the games TNT regularly televises. The schedule will be announced closer to the All-Star game. The first arenas to install the Intel freeD technology are the American Airlines Center in Dallas, home of the Mavericks, and Quicken Loans Arena, where LeBron James and the rest of the Cleveland Cavaliers play home games.


Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.