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Fox Sports To Begin Virtual Reality Broadcasting

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Fox Sports announced Wednesday that it has inked a five-year agreement with NextVR that will find a growing slate of the network’s sporting events broadcast in virtual reality.

The first event in the multi-year partnership will be the Daytona 500, airing Feb. 21, with additional programs to be announced later this year. By watching the event in virtual reality, which offers a 360-degree view of a location, viewers will get to experience the race with a level of realism that doesn’t exist in a traditional TV format. In 2015, Fox and NextVR gave the concept a test-ride by broadcasting boxing, racing and golf in virtual reality.

In order to view the free live Daytona 500 race in virtual reality, users will have to download the NextVR app to their Android smartphone for viewing through a Samsung Gear VR headset.

The partnership is significant in that it marks another milestone for the coming VR push, which is expected to gather momentum this year with the appearance of high-end VR devices from Oculus Rift, HTC Vive and Sony Morpheus. Google has energized its VR efforts of late by making Clay Bavor head of that division at the company, while Facebook got a jump start on the field with its purchase of Oculus Rift. And while Apple has never acknowledged publicly that it is working on VR tech, it has made acquisitions such as FaceShift that indicate it is playing around in the space.

By 2020, virtual and augmented reality will represent a $120 billion business, according to industry advisors Digi-Capital.

 

“It’s all about delivering something new and exciting for our viewers,” said Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president, COO and executive producer. “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.”

To read more visit USA Today where this article was originally published

Sports TV News

ESPN, Omaha Productions Expands Places Franchise into Hockey, College Basketball, Tennis

“PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.”

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Peyton’s Places has been one of the great successes in terms of original series on ESPN+. The franchise, which began with Peyton Manning visiting places and people integral to the history of the NFL, has expanded into new sports in recent years. Now, there are spinoffs starring Eli Manning, Abby Wombach, Ronda Rousey, Davíd Ortiz, and Vince Carter.

At Tuesday’s Disney Upfront presentation, the Manning Brothers announced three new additions to the Places family.

PK Subban will host PK’s Places focused on hockey, Sue Bird will host Sue’s Places focused on college basketball, and John McEnroe will host McEnroe’s Places focused on tennis.

“The Places franchise is all about giving fans an inside look at their favorite sport so we are excited to be adding such incredible teammates as the Places Universe continues to expand,” said Peyton. “Sue, P.K. and John will all bring a unique and colorful perspective to their sport’s history as they give viewers a look at some of their favorite places.”

In addition to the new shows, Peyton and Eli are coming back. Peyton’s Places will get a third season. Eli’s Places will get a second season.

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No Timetable For Big Ten To Get TV Deal Done

“Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.”

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Negotiations are reportedly continuing between the Big Ten Conference and media partners to complete a new media rights deal, and conference commissioner Kevin Warren isn’t in a hurry to make an announcement.

Warren told The Athletic that he wasn’t married to a deadline of having a deal to announce by Memorial Day.

“I want to make sure we take the appropriate time to get this wrapped up, but we’re making really good progress; that’s the good thing about it,” Warren said. “It’s a great time to be in this space. And there are so many really talented people in this area. But we have a good team. We have a great conference, and so I just really look forward to making sure that these are done in a very thoughtful manner and keep our fans and our student-athletes at the center of our decisions.”

FOX Sports will remain the anchor partner for Big Ten football games, but the conference is working with its other partners like ESPN and CBS for basketball and listening to other potential suitors to add a streaming element.

“The media landscape has changed, and you think (of) the interplay between linear television and streaming,” Warren said. “We just have to really think through what fits for what the Big Ten stands for, what’s in the best interest of our fans, what’s in the best interests of our student-athletes, what’s in the best interest of our member institutions.”

The deal, when finalized, could be worth close to $1 billion and would see a modest increase in money paid out to member schools.

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Kevin Harlan Angry People Thought He Was Insulting Odell Beckham Jr.

“I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.”

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Broadcaster Kevin Harlan has a bone to pick with the social media mob. Harlan wants the record set straight after comments made about NFL wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. during a recent NBA Playoffs telecast.

Beckham was spotted by TNT cameras during a recent game in the Dallas Mavericks/Phoenix Suns series when Harlan pointed out that Beckham got injured during this year’s Super Bowl.

“He blew a knee in the Super Bowl on a crossing pattern,” Harlan said in response to his broadcast partner Reggie Miller, who said Harlan needed to give OBJ the correct title of Super Bowl champion.

Reaction on Twitter was outrage, as people believed Harlan was trying to take a swipe at the former Cleveland Browns/Los Angeles Rams wideout.

But Harlan, who called Super Bowl LVI on the radio for Westwood One, said that simply wasn’t the case.

“I know the NFL, I know what it meant to him,” Harlan told USA Today. “And I couldn’t finish it and I got attacked and that’s the kind of world we live in now. And I was furious that I took heat over that, because I wasn’t given a chance to finish what I was going to say because of what the broadcast was doing at the time.

“What I was going to finish saying, but I was unfortunately interrupted was, ‘And look at him walk after blowing that knee, knowing that he was a part of a Super Bowl championship performance,'” he added.

Harlan continued that the timing just didn’t work out. He thinks it’s ridiculous that people would take him out of context.

“I was going to tell a story. I know who he is. I’ve called every year of his career,” he said. “I was just going to try this thing – you just have to be so vigilant, so alert to everything that happens. I was left hanging. I took the brunt of it. I didn’t like it.”

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