HomeBroadcastESPN and Meta join forces to develop VR sports broadcasting experiences

ESPN and Meta join forces to develop VR sports broadcasting experiences

ESPN and Meta join forces to develop VR sports broadcasting experiences

US sports broadcasting giant ESPN has teamed up with tech titan Meta to launch an immersive sports-themed virtual reality (VR) experience on the Meta Quest platform, reshaping the way fans engage with their favourite sports content.

Confirmed reports reveal that ESPN’s extensive portfolio of immersive sports highlights will soon be accessible through the Xtadium application on the Meta Quest platform. This includes captivating moments from leagues such as National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) football and basketball games, along with snippets from other ESPN programming including the highly anticipated ESPY Awards.

ESPN and Meta are also working on a fully-fledged ESPN-branded virtual experience set to debut on Meta Horizon Worlds.

This initiative comes as Meta joins the ranks of the ESPN Edge Innovation Centre, an esteemed initiative aimed at harnessing cutting-edge technologies like VR, augmented reality (AR), 5G, and mobile edge computing (MEC) to elevate the sports media and broadcasting landscape. With existing members including tech consultancy firm Accenture, industry giant Microsoft and US mobile operator Verizon.

For ESPN, this venture into the realm of virtual reality represents a strategic move ahead of the anticipated launch of its comprehensive direct-to-consumer (DTC) platform in 2025. By exploring innovative digital experiences in partnership with Meta, ESPN aims to stay at the forefront of sports entertainment evolution, catering to the evolving preferences of modern sports enthusiasts.

In parallel, Meta views sports as a key catalyst for driving consumer adoption and developer support within its burgeoning VR ecosystem.

“Sports completely change when all of a sudden you and your friends are together in VR courtside, or in the endzone, giving you the feeling that you’re actually there,” Vishal Shah, Vice President of Metaverse at Meta, commented.

“ESPN is a game changer in making this a reality.”

Kevin Lopes, Vice President of Business Development and Innovation at ESPN, added, “Having Meta join the ESPN Edge Innovation Centre marks a significant opportunity for us to test, learn, and continue our relentless pursuit of innovation in the ever-evolving sports entertainment landscape.

“Meta is an industry leader that brings tremendous expertise to a strong group of innovators.”

The ESPN-branded experience on Meta Horizon Worlds is scheduled to debut this summer.

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