Sporting events are expensive.

Attending football, basketball, or hockey games can often cost hundreds or thousands of dollars, and worst of all, your favorite team might be playing in a location which is completely inaccessible to you. Fortunately for us, the NHL is looking to pioneer a new era of sports viewership that should allow viewers to watch their favorite hockey team from right inside the ring. The hockey league is employing the graphics company OTOY to give fans a unique view of the the rink, placing a 3D camera directly above the goalie line. Placing the camera here will allow fans to view the the game from a unique perspective, experiencing the game from a 360 degree bird’s-eye view. Right now, the game is only able to be streamed to the Samsung Gear VR, but there is a high probability that the experience will be available on more platforms once the market becomes more saturated.

The first game tested with the technology was between the San Jose Sharks and LA Kings, and should become more mainstream in many games in the future. For those of you looking to make it to your favorite game without leaving your home, this technology is for you.

Quoting OTOY’s CEO Jules Urbach,

Whether you’re a fan living on the other side of the country, or you just couldn’t snag a seat to the big game in your own backyard, virtual reality lets you be as close to the action as any ticket holder. The NHL has always been incredibly progressive about how it uses technology to give fans access, and we’re excited by the possibilities of harnessing OTOY’s virtual reality technology to help the league get fans even closer to the game they love.

This isn’t the first time the NHL has been involved in intimate VR experiences. Back in January, the startup STRIVR put on quite a show in Madison Square Garden, showcasing it’s NHL Goalie Simulator on the HTC Vive. The simulator put users in the shoes of Henrik Lundqvist, goalie for the New York Rangers hockey team. The experience lasts for two minutes, and allows users to attempt to block randomly generated shots with the HTC Vive’s hand-based controllers. Mixing 360 video with computer generated effects, users are able to experience what it’s like to be a big name goalie in hockey first hand, and feel the pressure of blocking shots from feared professionals.

With hockey being the first sport to really push new VR experiences, there’s quite a bit of hope we’ll be able to see more sports popping up in virtual reality in the coming years.

Any specific games you want to watch?

Via: VR Focus

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