VR in sports: definitely not a fad

There was no need of Zuckerberg announcing AR as the act 2 of Facebook to forecast that most of this year’s NAB Show will focus on any form of augmented, virtual and mixed reality.

The situation is pretty clear though: in this run to deploy the first ever virtual reality experience in more and more fields of application, the numbers for the immediate future are still quite low.

In a recent report, market research firm Greenlight Insights forecasts the total virtual reality revenues to hit $7.2 billion by the end of the year.

“I got into VR before it was mainstream”

The mid-term projection tells quite a different story though, with global revenue estimated to reach $74.8 billion by 2021: even more optimistic than Goldman Sachs’ estimate of $80 billion industry revenue by 2025, accompanied by the bold statement that VR will have outpaced TV by then.

What about VR in sports?

The situation of VR production in the sports industry pretty much reflects the overall short and mid-term forecasts.

The technology is ready and it’s getting better month in month out. Any player in the sport media business has already deployed VR experiences, from clubs to federations to sports broadcasters, but such a disruptive viewing experience still needs to penetrate amongst fans. If we look at a future that is not far from us though, we can see how virtual reality can totally reshape the fans’ habits when it comes to watch sporting events, affecting consequently the sport media business from many different perspectives.

We at Deltatre have been testing VR production for more than a year now, covering about 60 events in 3 competitions.
Focusing on live and near-live immersive experiences only, we have already faced the challenges of producing relevant content in two different sports, with the main goal to avoid trivialising the technology for technology sake.

Covering all the phases of the process we have been able to reach our desired standard of consistency in the product: the concept and editorial guide production and operations to deliver fans front-end VR apps that convey a sport-tailored immersive experience.

Thanks to this end-to-end approach and to our partnership with Nokia and LiveLike, we plan to go to the market with full-service VR solutions in the most relevant football tournaments starting next season.

Our Executive VP Business Development Andrea Marini is going to present Deltatre’s work in VR production at the NAB Show this year. His 30 minutes presentation will take place at the Nokia OZO booth (North Hall #N1002VR) on Tuesday, April 25, 3:30 pm. If you will be in Vegas on those days, pass by to learn more about how we are deploying VR for the biggest sport federations.

It is in its early days for sure and it’s not easy to understand how fast VR in sports will grow. One thing we know for sure: it’s not a fad. VR in sports is real.