This next Saturday, April 1, basketball fans will be able to experience the Final Four games of the NCAA March Madness in virtual reality thanks to Intel’s True VR coverage. Viewers will have to pay a small fee to enjoy the games on a Samsung Gear VR headset.
In total, Intel will stream six games of the college tournament, including the Championship match on Monday, April 3. Fans who want to watch the game from a courtside perspective on their homes can pay $.199 or $2.99 per game or buy a bundle for all six.
Intel’s True VR division is part of the Intel Sports Group, but it was rebranded to emphasize the company’s focus on live, virtual reality streams of high-profile sports events.
How to watch NCAA March Madness on VR
The six games of the competition will be available on the new NCAA March Madness Live VR app, which is also available on the Oculus store. The app itself is free, but access to the games comes with a price.
There is an entry-level Silver tier that costs $1.99 per game and provides a single, 180-degree view from the courtside with commentary from the CBS crew. For those looking for a better experience, there will be a Golden Ticket option that prices games at $2.99 each and offers a bundle for all six games for just $7.99.
With this purchase, basketball enthusiasts will get access to direct arena sound feeds, multiple points of view that they can switch at will besides the courtside view, and custom commentary designed specifically for this audience.
Intel is expanding the entertaining industry
The NCAA’s March Madness broadcast is only the first deal by Intel in partnership with Turner Sports and CBS Sports. The three parties have signed a multiyear deal for the rights to the VR transmission.
Intel True VR uses a special setup of camera pods around the court that cover every angle of the action during the match. Each pod carries 12 cameras, and for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8 rounds, the company used four pods and 48 cameras to cover the games.
For the Final Four semifinals and the National Championship game, the VR division will nearly double the broadcast coverage with three additional pods that bring the total up to 84 cameras in total.
The computing giant is claiming an untapped market with its offerings in virtual reality. Experts believe that if the March Madness tickets sell well, Intel could start thinking about diversifying further into concerts, festivals, and other popular events.