How VR is Changing the Sports Fan Experience

Virtual reality (VR) is changing how we interact with the world. While it is mostly associated with the gaming industry, The Next Web’s Tristan Green explains that it industries such as healthcare, retail, and tech are now the biggest adopters of the technology. But that is not all. VR is making a lot of ground in enhancing the way fans experience their favourite sport. In terms of sports entertainment, it is the next big step.

How VR is changing the Sports Fan Experience

The sports world has long been at the forefront of adopting technological advancements, as emphasised in our the previous post ‘Big Data and Innovation in Sport Software. In that article, we explained how the combination of big data and digital innovation is bringing teams closer to their fans, and bringing the teams closer to winning big games. VR is also transforming how sports fans interact with their favourite sports, particularly in terms of getting fans closer to the games they love.

A Medium article on technology in sport explained that VR is “increasingly being used in the sports industry to create new experiences for audiences.” Mainly, VR is putting fans in the middle of the action, albeit in a virtual world. This gives them access to information that those watching a game live, or even on TV, won’t have. Last year, the BBC gave fans the option of experiencing the World Cup in VR. Each of the 33 matches that the network carried was available via the BBC Sport VR 2018 FIFA World Cup app. This meant fans could watch a match as if they were doing so inside the stadium. They also had access to real-time match information, team statistics, and match day commentary from the broadcaster.

Nowadays, VR is being used in the Premier League. Arsenal, Liverpool, and Manchester City are all utilising Intel’s True View VR technology. This means their fans now get to watch matches in VR from every conceivable angle. James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports, lauded the company’s partnerships with three of England’s biggest clubs. “We have the chance to transform the experience for fans of one of the world’s top sports leagues with our leading and differentiated volumetric technology.”

Alongside giving fans different ways to watch their favourite sport live, VR is also giving them the opportunity to learn more about their chosen teams and athletes. VR is having a impact on sports by providing behind the scenes coverage and allowing fans to get an idea of what happens in preparation for big events. At a NASCAR Cup Series Championship finale, fans were able to “transport themselves into a driver’s meeting” before the race. This creates a stronger connection between the sport and fans, and shows how VR is elevating the experience of watching a sporting event live.


Of course, nothing right now, can still beat watching sport live and in person. But VR is bridging the gap slowly. With the technology continuously improving, as evident by the release of cutting-edge headsets like the Oculus Quest and Valve Index, chances are VR will soon rival even the live sport viewing experience. The good news is that the winners will be the fans.

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By Patricia Dozier