Eurosport serving up 50 hours of live VR content from PyeongChang
Eurosport, the pan-European broadcaster which holds rights across the continent to the forthcoming winter Olympic Games in PyeongChang, is to offer more than 50 hours of live coverage in virtual reality.
The Discovery Communications-owned network said today that the live VR content would include the opening and closing ceremonies, plus various sports including Alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, short track, ski jumping, skeleton and snowboarding (big air and halfpipe).
Eurosport will also provide full on-demand replays and daily highlights packages in VR from the games, which run from 9 to 25 February.
The coverage is available to viewers via the Winter Olympics Eurosport VR app available on iOS and Android mobile devices from 1 February for €0.99 ($1.23) and on Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Windows Mixed Reality headsets from their respective app stores.
Fans will be able to select their preferred viewing point from up to six camera positions to get a more immersive experience of the PyeongChang winter Olympics.
The content is being delivered by Olympic Broadcasting Services, the Olympics host broadcaster owned by the International Olympic Committee, in partnership with Intel, the computer hardware company that is now a TOP sponsor of the games, and whose True VR technology enables multiple cameras to create a 360-degree VR environment.
Eurosport has been pledging enhanced coverage of the Olympics since signing a €1.3-billion ($1.5-billion) deal for the rights for four editions of the games in Europe from 2018 to 2024 (excluding Russia) back in 2015, partly in order to differentiate its offering from that of free-to-air broadcasters to which it has sub-licensed rights in most of the 48 territories.
Eurosport's plans include the Eurosport Cube, a studio that will incorporate augmented reality and enriched data to create an immersive and interactive 360-degree environment for its winter sports experts, providing a base for analysis of the best moments from up to 900 hours of live action from PyeongChang.
Ralph Rivera, the managing director of Eurosport Digital, said: “Discovery has set out to transform the Olympic Winter Games viewing experience, so being able to offer viewers across Europe every minute of the Games and now every angle of some of the biggest events in live VR goes a long way to delivering this promise.
“We want to do this to engage more people, on more screens, with the Games than ever before, offering something new to attract younger audiences. In this way, we hope to make fans care even more about the sports they are passionate about.”