Pelicans-Warriors to be available in virtual reality on opening night

Anthony Davis coming right into your living room.

Kyle Terada/Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The NBA and Turner Sports announced that they will make the opening night contest between the Pelicans and the Warriors available to fans live in virtual reality for the first time.

The official release, courtesy of the NBA:

The NBA and Turner Sports announced today that they will provide NBA fans with access to view the first live professional sports game in virtual reality. The live stream will take place on opening night of the 2015-16 NBA season when the defending NBA Champion Golden State Warriors take on the New Orleans Pelicans on Oct. 27 at 10:30 p.m. ET on TNT.

Along with the live game presentation, fans will have the opportunity to view the Warriors ring ceremony presentation in virtual reality – with the team receiving their championship rings on the court prior to the game.

NBA and Turner Sports will work closely with NextVR, a technology company that captures and delivers live and on-demand virtual reality experiences, to deliver the live game and ring ceremony in high-definition virtual reality, further bringing the courtside experience to fans.

Fans will be able to access the Warriors vs. Pelicans game and the Warriors’ pre-game ceremony at the Oracle Arena in virtual reality with a Samsung Gear VR headset via the NextVR portal, found on the Oculus Home app. Complete details to access the experience are available at www.nextvr.com/nba-tnt.

The NBA began experimenting with virtual reality during the 2013-14 NBA season when NextVR captured a Warriors game against the Denver Nuggets at Oracle Arena. Last season, the NBA became the first U.S. professional sports league to bring virtual reality experiences to the public by capturing and distributing highlights of the NBA All-Star Game and State Farm All-Star Saturday Night.

The league has been working on the virtual reality angle for a little while now, so we can expect to see these types of innovations continue as the technology continues to evolve. And it seems like a pretty amazing idea. With the virtual reality experience, you can ostensibly be in the middle of the Warriors’ ring ceremony and see the game from an angle you never imagined. There won’t be virtual-reality camera people on the court during live action, we’re assuming. But if this is something the NBA decides is viable moving forward, it’s easy to imagine cameras in arena rafters and on wires being used to create a more immersive experience.

It’d be an amazing experience to watch Stephen Curry break "your" ankles or Anthony Davis swat a shot from just inches away. The future is pretty, pretty neat.

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