by Jim Derochea | Defenders of the Wall | December 03, 2017
The NFL has heard us (fans) loud and clear and is apparently working on testing and integrating new technology tools to aid in training the officials (and hopefully increasing consistency and accuracy)! According to SportTechie, the NFL has plans to implement the testing of several new technologies including developing VR training materials, to help drill & educate NFL game officials.
“We will be testing new technology for training officials, including virtual reality simulators and POV cameras,” an NFL spokesperson told SportTechie via email.
According to reports in BizTech Magazine, league officials will be able to obtain more mental reps as they practice calling game-like situations through the new technology integration.
“The NFL is in the early phases of developing VR training materials for the league’s referees,” Chief Information Officer Michelle McKenna-Doyle told BizTech Magazine.
This is an expansion on the “investment” that the NFL had made in VR technology during the 2016 season to enhance fan experience. During the second half of that season, the NFL partnered with virtual reality companies VOKE and NextVR to create virtual reality highlights packages for fans, with the latter laying the groundwork for NFL games to potentially be broadcast live in virtual reality. Last season, NextVR shot 3 NFL games in virtual reality as a test, while it is simultaneously working with the NBA to broadcast 25 NBA games in virtual reality for their “League Pass” subscribers.
“We are always looking for new ways to engage with our fans. Virtual reality is an emerging platform that enables content experiences with a truly unique vantage point that brings fans closer to the game,” said NFL’s Vishal Shah, Senior Vice President, Digital Media in a statement following the announcement.
The NFL has also expanded its partnership with Google to include a nine-part virtual reality series (NFL Immersed), available on the NFL’s Youtube.com channel. The series, touted as the first episodic sports program in virtual reality, was launched on November 24, 2016, giving fans a unique view of the league and its players.
NFL Immersed, Episode 1 – November 24, 2016: (Click Link, Below)
Please also check out the NFL videos, below, on VR Technology from October, 2015:
Virtual Reality Takes Fans on the Field | Oculus Rift | NFL Next
The Future Of Watching Football is Virtual Reality | NFL Next