Baseball and virtual reality fans can now get really close up to watch major league sluggers knock it out of the park.
Major League Baseball Advanced Media and NextVR are partnering to show this year's T-Mobile Home Run Derby in virtual reality Monday night from Petco Park in San Diego. The VR broadcast is promising to show homers "like never before" and will be available on demand on the MLB Channel after the derby's live broadcast airs on ESPN.
"MLBAM is a known innovator in sports technology and we are honored to work together as we continue to provide premier entertainment and sporting events in virtual reality," said Brad Allen, NextVR's executive chairman.
Live VR sports broadcasts are still in their infancy after debuting last fall. While the format appears promising, experts say it will take some time to reach its potential. VR broadcasts require special hardware -- a headset and compatible phone -- as well as special software. The broadcasts can be buggy and lag, depending on your connection.
But Laguna California-based NextVR is proving to be a big-time player in the industry, airing this year's US Open and The Masters golf tournaments. NextVR has also shown pro boxing, Nascar's Daytona 500 and the Big East college basketball tourney.
During Monday's home run derby, there will be VR cameras positioned behind home plate and along the first- and third base lines, said Dave Cramer, a NextVR senior vice president.
"We'll also have cameras on the on-deck circles to provide that coveted interaction between players," he added.