The ways in which we follow sports over the years has evolved to a great extent. In the past, for many years, the connection between sports and fans was the radio. The advent of television was a more powerful transmission system. Colour, HD, LCD, LED, and large-sized flat-screen televisions added to the appeal. Following this, the advent of cellphones, smartphones, iPads, and the internet have all added to the platform. The current breakthroughs in the field of sports are happening in the form of virtual reality and augmented reality which has certainly added to the excitement. The main challenge for virtual reality lies in creating innovative ways to let people enjoy their favourite sport/sports to the fullest. To better understand how virtual reality (VR) will be utilized moving forward, let us analyze how virtual reality is used in sports.
What Is Virtual Reality?
It refers to using computer technology to create a simulated environment. Unlike traditional user interfaces, the user is placed inside experiences in case of VR. The users, instead of viewing the screen in front of them, are immersed and are able to interact with 3D environments. Virtual reality helps simulate senses such as smell, vision, touch, and hearing. In virtual reality, the computer uses sensors and math. Rather than locating a real camera within a physical environment, the user’s eyes are positioned within the simulated environment. The graphics react according to the head movements of the user. VR technology creates an interactive and convincing world for the user, rather than compositing a real scene and virtual objects.
Impact Of Virtual Reality In Sports
Virtual reality acts as a training aid to measure athletic performance in sports such as golf, athletics, skiing, cycling, etc.
1. Broadcasting Matches Through VR
Nowadays, the majority of people are shifting away from TV screens. Virtual Reality is used to revolutionize the way the audience watch sports and attract new viewers. Virtual reality uses 360-degree video cameras to provide an immersive experience to the audience through their headsets or mobiles. VR has the capability to allow viewers to see what they want and focus on their favourite players. NextVR is a successful startup that provides such an experience by broadcasting popular league matches such as Wimbledon, NBA, NFL, etc. using VR. Turner Sports is also another big player that has partnered with Intel to deliver a perfect NBA experience through VR.
This experience is made p[ossible by mounting cameras on the bodies of athletes. This enhances the experience for viewers as they can watch the games from the athletes’ point of view.
2. Playing Sports Using VR
Apart from watching sports using virtual reality, viewers can themselves become athletes by immersing into a virtual reality-powered sports arena. This enables sports gaming in becoming more immersive. A decade ago, Wii introduced by Nintendo, allowed players to play tennis from within the confines of their homes. Virtual reality helps create a better experience that is more interactive and engaging. Some of the platforms built for VR gaming are Playstation VR, HTC Vive, and Oculus Rift. Other sports games such as Box VR and VR Sports Challenge create a life-like experience for users. In the future, there will certainly be more games and simulations from developers.
3. Training Athletes And Sports Teams
Virtual reality allows in the creation of significant benefits from the points of view of both the athlete and the coach. The critical aspect of the modern athlete training technique is to capture and understand the motion and movements of the players, as much as possible. Using virtual reality, coaches can observe the p[erformance of the players from training sessions and real matches. Another way in which virtual reality is used in sports is for indoor training. In the case of sports such as tennis, baseball, and basketball, athletes can practice in a simulated environment and can make use of the system feedback that is provided to adjust their techniques. Eon Sports and StriVR are popular companies that can train both professional and amateur athletes. VR has already been adopted for training by teams such as NCAA, NBA, and NFL. Using virtual reality is a great way to train the mind of athletes without causing strain to their bodies.
4. Scouting Athletes Using VR
Just like how coaches use VR to train athletes, they use virtual reality also for scouting potential athletes. This allows coaches to bring scouting to a larger scale as they can observe the performance of athletes through VR sports games and game simulations. In the future, due to the virtual reality technology, the number of sports scouts who attend tournaments will reduce to a great extent. Instead of this, they will observe athletes from their office through VR headsets.
5. Driving Equipment Design And Innovation
Another popular use case of virtual reality in sports is sports manufacture. VR is used in designing sports clothes and equipment. The best example of this would be the design of running shoes. Innovation is a key factor in the sports industry as the bar has been raised higher and higher in terms of sporting achievement. Sportspeople are constantly looking out for ways to gain a competitive edge by becoming faster and stronger and gaining better endurance. Sportspeople are constantly pushing boundaries with regard to what their bodies can do, and this is what exactly drives the sports clothing and equipment industry.
There is currently a race that is happening between the networks, teams, stadiums and arenas which aim to be at the forefront of the industry. Virtual reality strives to enhance the fan experience, and any technology that takes the fan experience to great heights is certainly here to stay.
To stay updated, check out Global Tech Council.