NEW YORK – Dec. 6, 2016 – FOX Sports and Major League Soccer today announced that FOX Sports and virtual reality company LiveLike will broadcast Saturday’s MLS Cup through the FOX Sports VR app, marking the first time the league’s championship game has been offered in virtual reality. Additionally, Audi has signed on as presenting sponsor.
“We are thrilled to work with Audi and offer VR capabilities for FOX Sports’ first MLS Cup broadcast and once again team with LiveLike on such an important and historic event for the company,” said Devin Poolman, SVP, Digital Platforms, FOX Sports. “MLS has done a tremendous job helping soccer grow in the United States and we couldn’t be more excited to be working with them on the first VR experience for the MLS Cup.”
Coverage for the 2016 MLS Cup kicks off on Dec. 10 at 7:30 PM ET on FOX. This marks the first time since 2008 that MLS Cup will air live on English-language network television.
During the match, viewers can choose to watch any of five camera angles with or without a headset. They can also enter a “virtual suite” with access to rosters and live stats. The presentation includes a “magic window” experience for iOS and Android, as well as fully immersive VR on both cardboard and Samsung Gear VR.
“We are excited to collaborate with our partners at FOX Sports and Audi to let fans experience MLS Cup through this groundbreaking technology,” said Seth Bacon, SVP of Media, MLS Business Ventures. “This initiative reinforces our collective commitment to innovation with our partners and within the sport.”
The match will also include a first-of-its-kind VR replay feature for iOS users, allowing viewers to rewind the game in 30-second increments going as far back as 30 minutes, as well as the ability to control replays from different camera angles.
Fans can access the MLS game by downloading and installing the FOX Sports VR app and signing in with their television provider credentials.
“FOX Sports has been a great partner for us as we gear up for our 3rd live, VR broadcast together. Their broadcast expertise combined with our VR capabilities have allowed us create one-of-a-kind, tailored VR experiences that have delighted today’s sports fan,” said Andre Lorenceau, co-founder and CEO, LiveLike. “With the support of MLS and Audi, we are making huge headway into bringing VR into more and more households.”
Audi’s presenting sponsorship gives it in-suite branding, an in-suite Audi car and real time delivery of each player’s Audi Player Index score – a performance-based number, calculated by combining in-game metrics.
“We partnered with MLS to support the continued growth of soccer in America,” said Loren Angelo, VP of Marketing, Audi of America. “The Audi Player Index has allowed us to bring technology to the sport and to elevate fan engagement. Through VR, fans will have the opportunity to interact with the sport in a way they never have before.”
HOW TO WATCH THE GAME
ABOUT FOX SPORTS
FOX Sports is the umbrella entity representing 21st Century Fox’s wide array of multi-platform US-based sports assets. Built with brands capable of reaching more than 100 million viewers in a single weekend, FOX Sports includes ownership and interests in linear television networks, digital and mobile programming, broadband platforms, multiple web sites, joint-venture businesses and several licensing partnerships. FOX Sports includes the sports television arm of the FOX Broadcasting Company; FS1, FS2; FOX Sports Regional Networks, their affiliated regional web sites and national programming; FOX Soccer Plus; FOX Deportes and FOX College Sports. FOX Sports also encompasses FOX Sports Digital, which includes FOXSports.com, FOX Sports GO, Whatifsports.com and Yardbarker.com. Also included in the Group are FOX’s interests in joint-venture businesses Big Ten Network and BTN 2Go, as well as a licensing agreement that establish the FOX Sports Radio Network.
LiveLike gives viewers the opportunity to watch live sports in virtual reality from a “private suite” that mimics a real VIP suite experience, complete with additional feeds, statistics and a jumbotron showing the game’s TV broadcast. With a flexible technology platform and device-agnostic approach, LiveLike is able to create tailored mobile experiences for Gear VR, Google Cardboard and more. The company has already broadcast games in partnership with Sky Sports (English Premier League games), Roland Garros (French Open), Manchester City (Manchester vs. Arsenal), Sky Germany and El Clasico. In February 2016, the company received the “1st and Future” award from NFL and TechCrunch. The company is based in New York.