The ATP World Tour is working to revolutionise how tennis is broadcast after partnering with LiveLike VR to live stream courtside action to virtual reality headsets.
ATP Media, the broadcast arm of the Tour, has partnered with New York-based VR sports broadcaster, LiveLike VR, for the 2016 BNP Paribas Open at Indian Wells, California.
Live action from the tournament will be captured using multiple wide lens cameras placed at various courtside positions and streamed to VR headsets giving viewers up-close access to every serve, rally and point.
ATP’s media chief operating officer, Stuart Watts, said: “Incorporating a family of ground-breaking and innovative partners into our existing production model allows us to enhance coverage quality and evolve how the content is being consumed.
“The partnership with LiveLike VR is another example of the technological strides we are taking in delivering a fully immersive tennis viewing experience to fans worldwide.”
Miheer Walavalkar, LiveLike VR chief business officer said, “Virtual Reality opens up so many possibilities for how people can consume live sports and lends itself perfectly to tournaments like the ATP World Tour Masters 1000s.”
Walavalkar added ATP Media has been “very receptive to our platform and have expressed a desire in being early adopters and we’re excited to be adding our expertise in bringing people even closer to the action.”
While there are no long-term plans for the technology ATP Media is planning to assess the success and future potential applications for the technology and could begin using it more as VR headsets are made available to consumers.
ATP Media’s partnership LiveLike VR adds builds on the growing trend of sport continuing to serve as an ideal platform for virtual reality. Samsung has adopted this approach through its partnership with Six Nations rugby with has promoted its Samsung Gear VR headsets through a number of rugby experiences.