NBA to add new, interactive features to virtual reality broadcasts this season

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This season, fans with NBA League Pass will be able to experience 27 live games in virtual reality thanks to NBA Digital teaming up with NextVR.
USA TODAY Sports

The NBA will broadcast 27 games, featuring all 30 teams, live in virtual reality on League Pass this season, it was announced Thursday morning.

But this time around, the NBA — which last season became the first professional sports league to offer regularly scheduled virtual reality broadcasts — is sweetening the pot a bit, adding new features like “live volumetric telestration (on-screen sketching), live infographics and dynamic stats inserted into the virtual scene,” as well as a point of view that can be hand-picked by the user.

“Following a groundbreaking first season of NBA games in VR, we will introduce new product features, including real-time graphics floating like holograms within the field-of-play, deliver sharper images, and introduce more VR devices to fans,” said David Cole, CEO of NextVR, the NBA’s official League Pass partner. “We are continuing to advance the realism and fidelity of our NBA broadcasts and these new features will deliver the most immersive live basketball experience to date.”

The league will also debut a new 360-degree virtual reality viewing environment, NextVR Screening Room, which will allow League Pass subscribers to watch any out-of-market game on a virtual, movie theater-sized screen.

“By committing to a schedule of VR games, we’ve been able to listen to fan feedback in real-time and deploy improvements on a weekly basis,” said Jeff Marsilio, NBA vice president of global media distribution. “The fan response has been overwhelmingly positive, and we look forward to seeing their reaction to this year’s new VR capabilities.”

The NBA’s 27-game virtual reality schedule (all times p.m., Eastern) is below:

* marks free League Pass preview games

  • Dallas at Houston (Oct. 21, 8)*
  • New York at Boston (Oct. 24, 7:30)*
  • Phoenix at Brooklyn (Oct. 31, 7:30)
  • Miami at Los Angeles Clippers (Nov. 5, 3:30)
  • Memphis at Los Angeles Lakers (Nov. 5, 9:30)
  • San Antonio at Dallas (Nov. 14, 8:30)
  • Cleveland at Detroit (Nov. 20, 7)
  • Sacramento at Golden State (Nov. 27, 10:30)
  • Golden State at New Orleans (Dec. 4, 8)
  • Oklahoma City at New York (Dec. 16, 7:30)*
  • New Orleans at Washington (Dec. 19, 7)
  • Memphis at Golden State (Dec. 30, 8:30)
  • Golden State at Los Angeles Clippers (Jan. 6, 3:30)
  • Cleveland at Minnesota (Jan. 8, 8)
  • Dallas at Denver (Jan. 16, 9)*
  • New York at Los Angeles Lakers (Jan. 21, 3:30)*
  • Minnesota at Atlanta (Jan. 29, 7:30)
  • Chicago at Sacramento (Feb. 5, 10)
  • Memphis at Oklahoma City (Feb. 11, 7)
  • Orlando at Philadelphia (Feb. 24, 5)*
  • Houston at Utah (Feb. 26, 9)
  • Los Angeles Lakers at Denver (March 9, 9)
  • Cleveland at Portland (March 15, 10)*
  • Oklahoma City at Toronto (March 18, 1)
  • San Antonio at Milwaukee (March 25, 3:30)
  • Sacramento at Memphis (April 6, 8)
  • Indiana at Charlotte (April 8, 1)

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