Under a three-year deal with Major League Baseball, Intel plans to live-stream one free out-of-market game each Tuesday in virtual reality. Starting next week, the games, on-demand replays and post-game highlights will be made available via the Intel True VR app on Samsung Gear VR headsets. The “Intel True VR Game of the Week” will provide baseball fans with the option of viewing a produced VR broadcast or selecting angles from up to four cameras. The experience will also feature exclusive commentary and live player and team stats.
The deal represents the latest efforts to expand VR offerings to foster consumer adoption. Yesterday, we reported Samsung’s plans for live VR broadcasts of events including a UFC Championship bout, the X Games and a Live Nation concert.
To gauge consumer demand, Intel “commissioned a survey of 500 MLB fans ages 18-64, conducted by Turnkey Intelligence,” reports Variety. The study “found that 71 percent would be interested in watching an MLB game in VR that they are unable to attend. It isn’t clear, however, whether those consumers would be willing to pay a premium for the VR experience.”
Separate from the Intel deal, MLB is adding a VR mode for its At Bat app that will initially work with Google’s Daydream and Android smartphones.
“The new VR option will let users access live stats and scores while watching games in HD video, and includes a 3D strike-zone cube as well as a collection of 360-degree on-demand videos,” notes Variety. “But to watch games in VR video, fans will have to turn to Intel’s VR app for the Samsung Gear.”