Southern California startup NextVR has partnered with NBA Digital to livestream at least one NBA game a week in virtual reality this season.
The games can be viewed in virtual reality only through NBA League Pass, a subscription service that broadcasts games on multiple devices and on television.
NBA League Pass is part of NBA Digital, which is jointly managed by the NBA and Turner Sports.
The virtual reality game broadcasts will be fully produced with announcers and multiple camera angles, according to NBA Digital. During game breaks, it said, viewers can see the entertainment at the venue, behind-the-scenes footage and VR-specific commentary.
Perspectives of the game can include views from behind the backboard, from center court and from a higher seat in the arena, NBA Digital said. It said the production team manages the switching of the camera angles to make the changes less jarring.
At first, viewers will be able to use only Samsung Gear VR headsets to watch the games on NextVRs app. Compatibility with other headsets will be added later this season, NBA Digital said.
The first game broadcast in VR will be Oct. 27 between the Sacramento Kings and the San Antonio Spurs. The entire schedule of VR-broadcast games will be announced this month.
NextVR is building its business around sports and music event coverage in virtual reality.
The company has deals with Fox Sports, events promoter Live Nation and sports tournaments such as the U.S. Open to provide sports coverage through VR headsets.
Last year, NextVR partnered with the NBA and Turner Sports to stream in VR a Golden State Warriors game against the New Orleans Pelicans. That VR broadcast also included live coverage of the Warriors championship ring ceremony.