Sky launches Premier League VR Trial

Fans in the UK may soon be able to watch the Premier League in VR after Sky Sports trialled the technology for the May 8 league game between Manchester City and Arsenal.

Demonstrating that the broadcaster is inching ever closer to the widespread introduction of live streaming in VR, Sky Sports trialled the devices with fans in London, New York and Melbourne.

Supported by broadcasters NBC in the US and Fox Sports in Australia, it was delivered alongside VR startup company LiveLike. This is interesting considering Fox Sports in the US as well as a number of other traditional platforms and rights holders have teamed with fellow start-up NextVR to deliver VR streams.

Despite VR being apart of the digital sports paradigm for quite some time, Sky Sports only recently launched its virtual reality feature last month with a 360 degree video interview with David Beckham.

And while they may be late to the party compared with other broadcasters around the world, it’s fair to say they’ve taken a giant stride toward bringing it to the mainstream, being one of just a handful to conduct trials across different networks in different countries.

Showing that the trial is a partnership between the broadcaster as well as the teams, senior vice president of media and innovation at Manchester City Diego Gigliani said that it’s too early to tell how far it is away from the mainstream but that they’re excited about where the technology will eventually lead.

“We began looking at how we could use VR to enhance the fan experience over a year ago. Now, thanks to a great collaboration with partners Sky Sports and LiveLike who share our passion for providing fans with the best sporting experiences possible, we’re delighted to be able to bring an official live Premier League match to virtual reality for the first time ever,” he said.

“There’s still a lot to be done until the technology matures and we find the right content offering, but the fans’ reactions to this test prove how incredibly engaging and transformational virtual reality can be.”

About author

Matt Tewhatu
Matt Tewhatu 155 posts

Matt is the editor of Digital Sport and Chief of Snack Media's rugby division and has a journalistic background both here in UK, Australia and in his native New Zealand. Follow him on Twitter @mtewhatu

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