June 30, 2016 – NBC Olympics announced today that it will provide Virtual Reality (VR) coverage of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games exclusively to authenticated users of compatible Samsung Galaxy smartphones together with Samsung Gear VR via the NBC Sports app, marking the first time Olympics programming will be available in VR.
The 85 hours of VR programming, which will be captured by Olympic Broadcasting Services (OBS) and supplied to NBC Olympics, will include the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, men’s basketball – including the semifinals and final – gymnastics, track and field, beach volleyball, diving, boxing, and fencing, as well as highlight packages of those sports.
All VR programming will be presented on delay, from August 6, the day after the Opening Ceremony, until August 22, the day after the Games conclude. Only Samsung Galaxy smartphones compatible with Gear VR will be able to access the VR content section of the NBC Sports app. Samsung customers can also view the VR content via TV Everywhere on the NBC Sports app after authenticating through their pay TV provider.
“The world’s greatest sporting event is always a showcase for cutting edge technology, and we’re thrilled to partner with Samsung and OBS to bring our viewers even closer to compelling Olympic action with virtual reality,” said Gary Zenkel, President, NBC Olympics. “Olympic fans can be transported to iconic venues such as Maracana Stadium for an unprecedented view of the Opening Ceremony, and Copacabana Beach for an immersive beach volleyball experience in the sport’s ultimate setting.”
“Fans of the Olympics will now get to experience the world’s best athletes as they compete in some of the most popular events of Rio 2016 in a whole new way: through virtual reality,” said Marc Mathieu, Chief Marketing Officer at Samsung Electronics America. “We are thrilled to work with NBC and OBS on this first-of-its-kind endeavor, connecting fans right to the action in Rio, powered by 360-degree storytelling, virtual reality and our Galaxy phones.”
Yiannis Exarchos, OBS CEO, commented: “VR technology carries incredible potential for the sport broadcast industry, offering a truly immersive user experience. Our first test in Lillehammer, together with Samsung, for the Winter Youth Olympic Games was highly successful and we look forward to further exploring this exciting technology with NBC in Rio”.
The Opening Ceremony of the 2016 Rio Olympics is Friday, August 5, on NBC. Samsung is the Official Smartphone Partner of the Rio 2016 Olympic Games.
Image credit: Samsung
About the author
Sam is the Founder and Managing Editor of Auganix. With a background in research and report writing, he has been covering XR industry news for the past seven years.