Considering that Virtual Reality is getting very popular with Oculus Rift, HTC Vive, Microsoft Hololens, and all kinds of low-budget alternatives with Google Cardboard, there are many reasons for sports to embrace it and broadcast their events in VR. In fact, the collegiate sports governing body announced plans to livestream the Final Four and National Championship games in virtual reality. Here is how to watch the games in a 180-degree point of view, as well as the NCAA Final Four and Championship start time and broadcasting schedule.
Yes, you can feel like you are in the action of March Madness on Saturday, April 2nd and Monday, April 4th. For the first time, the games will offer 180-degree views of all the action, which is probably the closest that there is to being there, thanks to the power of Virtual Reality technology.
Those of you who want to stream the event will find it available on Samsung's Gear VR though the March Madness app in the Oculus Store. If you don't have a VR headset, there will be a 2D 180-degree livestream on the March Madness website as well as 360-degree game highlights. For other information on livestreaming the games in non-VR, click here. In fact, there is some news about cutting cable to watch more TV events here at Cut Cable Today, specifically for March Madness.
For those that are following March Madness for 2016, the current games scheduled for Saturday are as follows, according to the NCAA scores. Villanova will play against Oklahoma on Saturday, April 2 at 3:09 PM PT on TBS. Then, at 5:49 PM PT on the same day, Syracuse will play North Carolina, also on TBS. The winners of the two games will play against each other with the National Championship Game of the 2016 NCAA Tournament on Monday, April 4th at 9:18 PM ET, also broadcasted on TBS according to Sporting News.
Having the NCAA Final Four and National Championship games in Virtual Reality isn't the first time that VR in sports has happened. Engadget recently discussed Virtually Live, which is ready to design immersive VR experiences for live sports. It is compatible with the HTC Vive and Oculus Rift, and should be launching on April 2nd. NextVR and Fox Sports are planning to broadcast a series of major sporting events that kicked off with the Daytona 500.
In other words, the future of sports is VR. As someone who has taken 360 videos and then played them back later on Google Cardboard, I have to admit that the experience is quite something. The idea that you can be in the stands of a major sporting event where you can look down, turn your head, and view the game is amazing, not to mention seeing the crowd's reaction to a spectacular play. Something tells me that next year's Super Bowl will be in VR, and I wouldn't be surprised if the commercials will be on board with this.