Stephen Curry and his Golden State Warriors teammates sizzled as they won Game 7 of the Western Conference finals last night. The Warriors came back from a deficit of 3 to 1 games in their series against Oklahoma City Thunder.
Here in San Francisco, the venue I watched the game from was called Brewcade, a little bar well-suited for a beer with buds and perhaps an arcade game or two. The game was projected across a large wall with complete broadcast audio and it was standing-room only. For every foul, 3-pointer, and defensive play, the crowd that had rallied to watch the Warriors jeered and shouted with enthusiasm. Playfully hushing each other when Curry was taking his free throws (which was comical since we were clearly not at ORACLE Arena to help make sure Curry was relaxed). At each commercial break, like clockwork, music played loudly and people danced. The energy level was fantastic.
Looking at the bigger picture, this makes me think about two things 1) geographic location has a direct relationship with how engaging your sports viewing experience will be and 2) following sports is an inherently social activity for many fans. If I weighed the various ways that I could follow a live sports event I might conclude the following.
Based on not only ambiance – meaning the participation of the people around you in the viewing experience, but also on comfort. I ranked attending a stadium or arena as the top experience. Followed by a sports bar or viewing party. Falling further away from that live atmosphere you have mediums like radio and streaming via personal browser or TV which don’t offer much of an interactive or social experience (unless you’re messaging someone concurrently). There are few alternatives that can complement a sports event quite like being with other people who believe in the same players or teams as you. But what if we could essentially create a way to share that home team excitement and appetite for the sport, no matter where you are. Where it’s about your experience as a fan and comfort as a person. Wouldn’t that be a solution worth pursuing? At Virtually Live, we believe that is achievable and we’re striving to create those fan experiences using virtual reality (VR).
Setting aside the current state of VR and the questions that automatically beg, such as: Do people really want to wear a headset? Well can VR be used for the duration of a sports game? But isn’t that isolating? Will people leave their houses?… the list goes on…
There’s reason for me and others to look at technology for the exciting breakthroughs in sports watching. Take a look at this 360 degree replay of Stephen Curry hitting a three for instance. It’ll be easier. It’ll be cheaper, and our hope is that it’ll be the best for a fan without locale on his or her side.