Early experiments with virtual reality in sports have had mixed results. The technology has been cumbersome, expensive, and there are issues broadcasting real-time 360-degree VR content.
That’s all changing as a result of advances made on all fronts. There are now relatively low-cost headsets that are more comfortable and don’t require a teather or high-powered PC. For pure broadcast bandwidth, the forthcoming 5G mobile protocol will help.
For 2021, the company that will most likely deliver the Cup in 360 degree video is ARL, a technology partner with Emirates Team New Zealand and located Dunedin, New Zealand. They experimented with VR at the America’s Cup in the last round, but everything has changed since then.
VR at the America’s Cup will put you right on the boat with the crew in real time. You’ll be able to look around you as you ride along. With boats sailing at speeds north of 40 knots, it promises to be an awesome experience.
There are some hurdles to work out – such as preventing other teams from riding along as well! It could be the ultimate spy chase boat. No $100K launch needed. We’re not sure how that’s going to get solved.
In the meantime, we’ll follow along with developments and tests to see if the America’s Cup becomes a breakthrough sport for utlizing live broadcast VR.