The future is here: now you can watch a live NBA game in VR

The NBA is living streaming tonight's Warriors game and ceremony into Samsung Gear VR headsets

Technology trends and news by Steven Loeb
October 27, 2015
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I've only been to one NBA game. It was the Knicks vs the Celtics at Madison Square Garden in 2010. The Knicks were down literally the entire game, until the final minute when they got a shot off at the buzzer that would have had them win by one point... until it was decided that it was too late and they lost. It was still a great game, and it was one of the most exciting things I ever been to.

I'd love to be able go again sometime, but honestly it's kind of tough to find the time to make it all the way over there, plus there's the money factor. So now the NBA is giving its fan the next best thing: virtual reality.

The NBA and Turner Sports has revealed a new partnership with virtual reality company NextVR that will allow fans to feel like they're at the game, without having to, you know, put on pants.

Using their Samsung Gear VR headset, all they have to do is insert their mobile phone into their Headset and navigate Oculus Home to download the NextVR experience. The live stream begins at 7:30 p.m. PT.

Fans will be able to access the game, as well as Warriors' pre-game ceremony, where they will be getting their championship rings.

This isn't the first time that the NBA has used virtual reality. A couple of seasons ago NextVR captured a Warriors game against the Denver Nuggets, and last season, the NBA captured and distributed highlights of the NBA All-Star Game and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.

The NBA has been the first U.S. professional sports league to bring virtual reality experiences to the public, but this is the first time that the league has allowed its virtual reality users to watch the event as it is actually happening. 

This is not the first time that NextVR has been there to bring the virtual reality experience to a live event; it previously teamed up with CNN to the same with the Democractic Presidential debate on October 13. Something tells me that more people are going to be excited about seeing Stephen Curry do his thing in person than Bernie Sanders.

Virtual reality is on the verge of a big breakthrough. In the first half of this year augmented reality and virtual reality saw  $248 million invested in 41 deals; that is a major improvement from the first half of 2014, which saw only $93 million and 23 deals. 

The two spaces, together, are expected to be worth $150 billion by 2020, up from what looks to be around $5 billion in 2016.

So how many people are actually going to watch the Warriors game in virtual reality? Honestly, probably not that many. Look what happened when Yahoo ran the first ever livestream of an NFL game earlier this week. Even through they were very likely juking up the numbers, it still fell short of a typical television broadcast. And that didn't require fans to have any additional hardware.

I don't think that this is really about numbers, though. It's about a glimpse into the future and the way we are all going to be experiencing things in just a few short years.

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