ESPN Partners With AltspaceVR, LX Sports Group for ‘ESPN & Cairo Santos in VR’
ESPN partnered with AltspaceVR, a VR company, and LX Sports Group, a global sports marketing agency, to use VR to bring fans into the studio for an engaging, interactive program with commentators and athletes. ESPN aired the program “ESPN & Cairo Santos in VR” on Thursday, July 20, at 5:00 p.m. PDT, when Everaldo Marques and Mauricio Pedroza hosted Cairo Santos, a Brazilian who plays for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs. Sports fans in Brazil, the United States, and worldwide were able to join together, in VR, to meet and interact directly with these stars.
Everaldo Marques, NFL commentator for the ESPN network, conducted the first part of the program in Portuguese. Mauricio Pedroza, commentator for ESPN based in the United States, co-hosted the second part of program in English.
Fans were able to participate with a VR headset using Samsung Gear VR, Daydream by Google, HTC Vive, Oculus Rift, or without a headset using select Mac, PC, or Android phones. The event was also streamed live on Youtube and the Mundo ESPN Facebook page.
“ESPN wants to bring sports fans into our studios, creating a unique kind of interaction and taking a step forward in offering multi-platform content,” says João Palomino, vice-president of journalism and production for ESPN Brazil. “We are driven to innovate in ways that will allow us to serve our fans better.”
“Sports in VR is growing rapidly and it is great to have the high level of quality programming ESPN can provide for our users,” says Jane Fang, Director of Business Development. “Sports fans will enjoy the feeling of being in the same room and interacting with Cairo Santos and Everaldo in VR.”
“Shortening the distance between an athlete and their fans through technology has motivated us to broker this unique experience for sports fans” says Erica Booze, CEO of LX Sports Group. “By uniting the visibility of ESPN with AltspaceVR technology, we expect an excellent experience in both Brazil and the United States.”
“I am looking forward to participating in this innovative experience, using virtual reality and my avatar to join Cairo and the sports fans,” says Everaldo Marques, NFL commentator for the ESPN network. “The NFL is a great adopter of technology, from the latest in sports equipment to advanced, more precise ways to officiate games, and now with virtual reality we are offering a new way to engage and thrill their fans.”
“The support and affection of the fans is very important. I can feel their positive energy and it helps me during every kick. For this unique event, football fans around the world can participate, in direct contact with us without leaving their homes,” says Cairo Santos, Placekicker of Kansas City Chiefs.