ATP Media, the broadcast arm of the ATP World Tour, has collaborated with LiveLike VR to enable the delivery of a live streaming virtual reality experience at the 2016 BNP Paribas Open, Indian Wells, California. In a first for global tennis, ATP Media will introduce an exclusive virtual reality lounge at the event offering a simulated visual experience that will allow every serve, rally and point to be watched as if from a courtside seat. Collaborating with LiveLike VR, a sporting virtual reality platform, wide lens cameras will live stream the action to VR headsets from multiple camera positions, enabling different views of the action to be selected in order to bring the thrill of being courtside viewing to viewers.
Setting the benchmark for global tennis innovation and broadcast coverage, this is not the first time that ATP Media has trialled new technological advances at the BNP Paribas Open. In 2014, Replay Technologies’ freeD product was introduced for the first time in tennis broadcast history, providing viewers with a 360 degree view of the action broken down by the millisecond.
Stuart Watts, Chief Operating Officer, ATP Media 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 ATP World Tour 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, Chief Business Officer, LiveLike VR 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. 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.”
Following the trial during the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells (the largest ATP World Tour tennis tournament in the world), ATP Media will further assess the potential of the virtual reality streaming experience, both to broadcasters and direct to consumers. For now, it is a case of ‘watch this space’ but ATP Media is delighted to be at the forefront in yet another potentially seismic technological advance for live sports production.