NextVR has been a leader in bringing immersive live streams of sporting events to viewers, from an NBA game between the Golden State Warriors and the New Orleans Pelicans to soccer’s International Champions Cup.
Now, the Laguna, Calif.-based company is taking a deeper dive into the sports world with its new pact with Fox Sports, announced today.
The five-year partnership will have NextVR presenting virtual live streams of a wide range of events to which Fox Sports holds the broadcast rights, starting with Sunday’s Daytona 500, beginning at 1 p.m. ET. The race will be available to view for free through the NextVR portal. Samsung Gear VR owners can download the NextVR app on any Gear VR headset-compatible phones. Future Fox Sports virtual reality programming will be announced soon.
“It’s all about delivering something new and exciting for our viewers,” said Eric Shanks, FoX Sports president, COO and executive producer, in a statement. “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.”
Fox Sports and NextVR previously collaborated on live virtual reality broadcasts of the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race in Fontana, Calif., and the U.S. Open Golf Championship in Washington State in 2015 and last month’s Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) matches.
Founded in 2009 by producer/director/cinematographer D.J. Roller and digital imaging/3D tech vet David Cole, NextVR has more than 26 patents granted or pending for the capture, compression, transmission, and display of virtual reality content.
In November, NextVR secured $30.5 million in a Series A funding round led by Formation 8, whose co-founder Brian Koo was an early investor and technical advisor for Oculus prior to its sale to Facebook. Other participants in the round included include Time Warner Investments, Comcast Ventures, Peter Guber, RSE Ventures, The Madison Square Garden Company and Dick Clark Productions.