NBA Arena and Avatar Apparel Debut in Meta Horizon Worlds

The National Basketball Association is extending its partnership with Meta Platforms in a multiyear deal that will include virtual reality experiences via the Horizon Worlds online platform and Meta Quest, “the official VR headset of the NBA and WNBA.” The NBA Arena in Meta Horizon Worlds will feature live NBA League Pass games in VR throughout the season. NBA-licensed apparel will launch in the Meta Avatars Store. Authenticated NBA accounts will also be able to experience shared watching in HD using Quest with VR sports hub Xtadium.

“Our extended partnership with Meta will provide more immersive and innovative ways to experience the NBA,” the organization’s EVP and head of content partnerships Jennifer Chun said in an announcement. “Meta’s digital world opens up exciting possibilities for NBA fans to virtually attend our games and to interact with other fans around the world.”

More than 50 live NBA games — including five in an immersive, 180-degree presentation — will be available in VR using Meta Quest, the headset maker said. Sports Video called the news “a big lift” for the consumption of VR sports. The new agreement builds on last year’s NBA Lane debut in Horizon Worlds, where it offers “a free throw shootout, low-gravity dunk contest, and more.”

Basketball fans will “be able to sit in a ‘virtual’ courtside seat to watch live NBA League Pass games and host private watch parties with friends,” the NBA explains, adding that “live WNBA, NBA G League and NBA 2K League games will also be available via a Meta Quest headset,” with Meta also getting “a presence at major NBA and WNBA events to showcase Meta Quest technology to NBA fans.”

“Users logged into Horizon Worlds will be able to access game highlights, recaps and archival content,” writes MediaPost, noting that “with an NBA League Pass subscription, fans, according to Meta, will be able to watch even more content in the app in the future.”

Niantic Tries Its Hand at Sports with NBA All-World, TechCrunch, 1/24/23

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