NBC recently announced it will be broadcasting 85 hours of the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio in virtual reality (VR) this upcoming August. However, only owners of Samsung smartphones and Samsung Gear VR headsets will be able to experience the fully-immersive 360-degree experience.
Although the VR content will be presented in delay, viewers can still be virtually inside the Rio Olympics stadium from their own living room starting on August 6 — the day after the opening ceremony – and continuing until the day of the closing ceremony on August 22. In addition to the opening and closing ceremonies, the men’s basketball, gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing events will also be available exclusively on the Samsung devices.
Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS), which provides footage to NBC, announced earlier this year they will film some of the games in 360 degrees and send it off to NBC to broadcast internationally.
“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality,” Gary Zenkel, President of NBC Olympics, said in a statement.
Additionally, VR-happy Samsung is rumored to be working on an Olympics-themed special edition of its Galaxy S7 Edge.
According to TNW, interest in VR as a tool for sports coverage has grown in recent months. In May, NBC broadcast the Kentucky Derby in 360-degree video. The NBA has also broadcast games in VR, as well as Fox Sports’ broadcast of the US Open this past June.