What We’re Reading: December 8

Back in May, Mark McClusky of Wired declared that “tech-enabled owners have helped turn the NBA into North America’s most forward-thinking sports league.”  Indeed, with virtual reality (VR) technology, people from Boston to Beijing will have access to the courtside experience typically reserved for the likes of Jack Nicholson and Spike Lee.  With teams and fans alike turning to VR, we take a look this week at the latest from the intersection of tech and sports:

  • Last Saturday night, Penn State came from behind to beat Wisconsin and win its first Big 10 title in eight years. It was an unforgettable game for Nittany Lion fans, especially those who watched their team triumph in VR. Fox Sports partnered with LiveLike to broadcast the game live in VR, also joining forces with GoPro to provide fans with the referees’ point of view.  Whether VR will make fans more sympathetic to officials remains to be seen.
  • With the launch of NBA 2KVR Experience last month, NBA fans now have a chance to go head-to-head in mini-skills competitions with Indiana Pacers star Paul George. Games include a 3-point contest and buzzer beater challenge, and participants can even earn Gatorade fuel boosts to help with their shooting and recovery.  No word yet, however, on whether Gatorade tastes as good in the virtual world.
  • ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported that the Los Angeles Clippers are looking into VR as a remedy for DeAndre Jordan’s historic struggles from the free throw line. Indeed, the Clippers aren’t the first NBA team to look to VR for help in the area. In September, NBA.com reported that the Detroit Piston’s Andre Drummond was using VR designed by STRIVR to overcome his own free throw woes.
  • The NFL continues to experiment with virtual reality content, as the league recently announced a collaboration with VR firm VOKE. VOKE is scheduled to provide VR highlight packages for four games, the first of which was last Sunday’s matchup between the Jaguars and the Broncos.  This is the second VR partnership for the NFL, as it also partnered with NextVR last month on a similar content experiment.
  • Finally, if you’re looking for the perfect gift for that special someone who you would like to spend less time interacting with in actual reality, check out Forbes’ VR Holiday Gift Guide.