Pros by Eric Young
Virtual reality is a growing trend in Indiana University’s (IU) sports media coverage. It will soon be implemented at the majority of IU athletic events in the near future. Virtual reality features several positives for students, fans and athletes. Patrick Dhaene, director of new technology at IU, and Andrew Rosner, assistant athletic director at IU, are working to improve the uses of virtual reality for college athletics.
Zack Marot taking a look into the IU diving VR
Fans who are either too far away from the venue or do not want to pay the price of tickets for entertainment such as concerts and athletic events, will now be able to have the same views and sounds as attendees of the event. The views include 360 degree angles, and live sounds from the event itself.
“You can go and move the camera in any position you want, so you can go really close and really far away, so it’s pretty cool stuff,” said Dhaene. “If you can have seven camera platforms somewhere in the stadium, then you can get to choose your seat and I would pay for that.”
IU will also be able to generate revenue while using virtual reality at athletic events by distributing it to Hoosier fans who want to get the event and stadium atmosphere.
“You have to be a donor for years to even sit courtside, well now with VR we can stream that view to an infinite number of people, so the revenue that we can generate is infinite,” said Rosner. “We might lose a thousand people in the venue, but we can then make up that revenue in a very expensive premium item, we are not selling an infinite number of balcony seats.”
Virtual reality will also be able to help with the recruiting process of potential IU athletes. Recruits are able to experience authentic 360 feel with all around views, helping them experience the atmosphere of competing at IU.
Patrick Dhaene explaining the technology behind VR.
“Each coach or team is going to have one of those [virtual reality sets] and we are going to load sport-specific content, so if you’re a soccer coach, I can load all kind of things like, what one of our games is like,” said Rosner. “Now he can go to a recruit and strap that thing [virtual reality set] on and it's like bringing them here without having to bring them here, so that is going to be a good thing.”
Students at IU who are learning about sports media technology are able to get unique opportunities that others do not offer.
“These are all opportunities for students at IU to learn and participate,” said Rosner. We are the first school to do a live virtual reality broadcast.”