Fox Sports is using next month’s CONCACAF Gold Cup soccer tournament to debut its new Social Virtual Reality technology, where up to four users can watch a game in the same “virtual suite” via its free Fox Sports VR app, starting with the USA-Panama match on July 8.
The virtual suite, created in partnership with VR firm LiveLike and presenting sponsor Buffalo Wild Wings, includes multiple live-event, high-resolution camera angles with the ability to toggle between views or choose a “director’s cut,” several pre-produced 360-degree features, and the ability to rewind within the app. Fans wanting to take advantage of its social aspect will be prompted with a “social” tab and “join friends” button that connects them with Facebook friends (after receiving authorization), or they can select viewing partners at random. And to avoid one bad apple ruining the party, those in the room have the ability to kick others out.
The Fox Sports VR app has a 360-degree interactive function for use without special virtual reality equipment, and is also compatible with Samsung’s Gear VR and cardboard headsets for a more immersive experience.
Fox Sports will show three live CONCACAF Gold Cup matches in virtual reality on the app, beginning with the USA-Panama match (which airs on conventional television at 4:30 p.m. ET on the main Fox broadcast network), followed by a match to be determined held on either July 22 or 23, and finishing with the Gold Cup championship, which will be broadcast on Monday, July 26 at 9:30 p.m. ET on FS1.
“We are thrilled to partner with CONCACAF and Buffalo Wild Wings in one of the most important soccer events of the year,” Michael Davies, Fox Sports’ senior vice president of field and technical operations, said in a statement. “The massive feature set of this application keeps growing, and we think that social is a wildly important and seminal moment in the ongoing evolution of the technology.”
The Gold Cup is just the latest in a string of sports events made available on Fox Sports VR, including this year’s Super Bowl LI, the 2016 and 2017 Big East Men’s Basketball Tournaments, the 2017 UEFA Champions League Final, the 2016 U.S. Open Championship, the 2016 MLS Cup, the 2016 Bundesliga season opener, the 2016 Daytona 500 and the 2016 Big Ten Football Championship.