Hey, NFL fans, you'll soon get a chance to see All-Pro wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. make spectacular catches in virtual reality.
The league is partnering with NextVR to show postgame highlights of three games this season. The first game, this Sunday, pits Colin Kaepernick's San Francisco 49ers against the Arizona Cardinals. That's followed a week later with the Chicago Bears against Beckham Jr.'s New York Giants and then the Giants versus the winless Cleveland Browns on November 27.
NextVR will work in tandem with Emmy award-winning NFL Films to capture 10-minute highlights packages from all three games.
For NextVR, the NFL deal means another jewel in its ever-expanding sports package. Last month, the Laguna Beach, California-based company began teaming up with the NBA to air 25 games in virtual reality this season. Already this year, it's shown the US Open and Masters golf tournaments, the MLB Home Run Derby, pro boxing, Nascar's Daytona 500 and the Big East college basketball tournament, as well as live concerts.
"NFL fans are constantly craving more football and this partnership will meet this demand by delivering an unprecedented virtual-reality experience to fans both in the US and around the globe," Brad Allen, NextVR's executive chairman, said in a statement.
William Deng, the NFL's director of media strategy and business development, said the partnership gives the league a chance to continue playing around with VR.
"Virtual reality is a rapidly evolving technology, and this is a great opportunity for the NFL to continue experimenting with the capabilities and distribution of VR experiences," Deng said in a statement.
The VR experience requires strapping on a headset that tunes out the rest of the world, drawing you into the action. Fans will be able to see NextVR's NFL highlights on the Samsung Gear VR headset.
Last season, NextVR captured footage at three NFL games and had a well-attended booth at the NFL Experience fan fest during Super Bowl 50 in San Francisco. At the booth, fans could get a taste of seeing gridiron action in virtual reality.
This season's NFL highlights package further fuels my speculation that NextVR could be showing Super Bowl 51 in virtual reality. It has a deal with Fox Sports, which is airing the big game on February 5 from Houston's Reliant Stadium.
When I asked Allen last month about the possibility of NextVR airing the Super Bowl, he was coy.