Dude, Where’s My Par?

IMG_4845Sloane Kelley, content director and strategist of the PGA Tour was excited to work with Oculus last year at SXSW Interactive 2015. Now this year, the PGA Tour and Oculus is in the process of implementing sports, golf specifically, into virtual reality. The opportunities with Oculus are to reach an early adopter crowd involved with golf. The 360 aspect helps with reaching a more massive audience.

In regards with sports, Oculus first tested its technology on the golf course the Web.com Tour at the 2015 Stonebrae Classic.

“This became something we decided to invest in coming into 2016. We identified ways to manage the Phoenix Open for our first chance to get out and film. It’s a crazy event, unlike anything else on tour. For example, the 16th hole is known as the loudest hole in golf,” said Kelley. “We wanted to pick something early in 2016 and this seemed like the best opportunity to get out and get some content.”

One experience takes you through the 16th hole. There was another instance where they did instructional experiences in golf through virtual reality. They also threw in a behind the scenes experience, going through the TV compound of the tour.

TJ Won highlights how Sloane and him met at Interactive 2015 and now they are actually executing virtual reality with golf. “How can we bring unique experiences together? Largely it’s a trial and error. No one is actually a true expert yet, no one is an expert on the 360 process yet. Sports will be the right medium to join in this,” said Won.

The future for the PGA tour is to continue creating additional content and create visual storytelling. Not only that, but the PGA tour wants to see what other opportunities there are.

Alex Lindsay, Chief Architect at Pixel Corps, goes over some of the specs of a 360 video must-have tool, the Ricoh Theta S.

Kelley closes with asking, “What’s the future of virtual reality in 5 or 10 years?”

“Realistically, a lot of video games like Madden, you’ve been able to move the camera wherever you want to see that amazing catch or throw. In virtual reality and sports, you will be able to watch games at any angle. You could be behind Tony Romo when he gets sacked. Those are things that are realistic and in 5 to 10 years it will change the game of sports,” said Won.

“We aren’t taking a point of interest, but capturing the entire space. I think you’ll see it more in MMA and Boxing. I think being able to hop around an event, whether its in the dugout or in the game, is awesome,” said Lindsay.