2016 March Madness to Offer VR and More

2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship
Today, March Madness, also known as the 2016 NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Championship, officially starts. And like in previous years, the networks are offering new ways to view the games and get involved.

The first game airs on truTV at 6:30 p.m. EST, with the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles battling the Fairleigh Dickinson Knights.

NCAA March Madness Live, the app for the event, will be available for viewers on 12 different platforms, including Amazon Fire TV, Roku, Apple iOS, Microsoft Windows and Android.

Fox Sports is collaborating with NextVR to livestream seven games in virtual reality at Madison Square Garden in New York.

“Our job is to be at the forefront of virtual reality and ensure that if this is something that brings our sponsors, our distribution partners, and ultimately the sports fan, closer to the game, then we take advantage of it,” said David Nathanson, head of business operations at Fox Sports.

“NextVR has years of experience capturing NBA basketball in VR we are bringing to bear here,” added NextVR co-founder David Cole. “That includes best camera positions, inclusion of broadcast elements in the VR delivery, sound design, graphics, etc.”

The Fox-NextVR partnership is a five-year deal.

“Fans want to be a part of the action and virtual reality takes the fan experience to the next level,” said Eric Shanks, Fox Sports president.

Turner Sports and Snapchat have also inked a multi-year deal, which will keep NCAA fans engaged with Snapchat’s Live Story functionality.

“There is nothing more powerful on social than a passionate sports fan expressing their emotions during that pivotal moment of a game,” said Seth Ladetsky, senior vice president, Turner Sports Ad Sales. “While providing fans the tools to enhance their shared experiences, we are also creating an opportunity for advertisers to showcase their brand in an organic environment rich with engagement and interaction.”

The Live Stories will feature behind-the-scenes videos, photos and images, many of which will be submitted by actual fans.

In addition to truTV, games will also air on CBS, TBS and TNT. Live streams can be found at the NCAA, Bleacher Report, and CBS websites.

Author: Brian Cameron
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