Fox Sports Signs Five-Year Deal With NextVR, Charts Course for Virtual-Reality Production

NextVR and Fox Sports will team up to produce this Sunday's Daytona 500 in virtual reality, with more Fox Sports properties to follow.

Fox Sports has officially started on the path to live virtual reality with the signing of a five-year deal with VR-production company NextVR to produce live, virtual-reality coverage of the nation’s top sports events. This partnership to broadcast sports live in virtual reality is the first of its kind and will include a range of sports events for which Fox Sports holds the broadcast rights.

A NextVR camera rig on hand for NASCAR coverage

A NextVR camera rig provides NASCAR coverage.

In January, NextVR and Fox Sports showcased Premier Boxing Champions (PBC) matches in virtual reality and now will focus on Sunday’s Daytona 500, televised nationally on Fox.

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

According to Fox Sports, viewers who experience its coverage of the Daytona 500 in virtual reality will feel as if they are among the fans at the track. The immersive, HD virtual-reality broadcast will bring fans to the starting line, to the middle of the infield, and with racing crews as they change tires on pit row. The live virtual stream includes audio commentary and graphics highlighting the race leaders.

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Fox Sports says Daytona 500 VR viewers will feel as if they are watching the race among the fans at the track.

“It’s all about delivering something new and exciting for our viewers,” says Eric Shanks, president/COO/executive producer, Fox Sports. “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 tested live virtual-reality broadcasts in 2015 at the Auto Club 400 NASCAR race in Fontana, CA, and the U.S. Open Golf Championship from Chambers Bay in University Place, WA.

Future virtual-reality programming on Fox Sports networks will be announced soon and will be available on the NextVR portal, including within a dedicated Fox Sports section.

Fox Sports’ Daytona 500 virtual-reality broadcast will be available free through the NextVR portal. Samsung Gear VR owners can download the NextVR app on any Gear VR headset-compatible phones. For detailed instructions, go to www.nextvr.com/gearvr-live.