Athletics Championships Were Broadcasted In VR

Athletics Championships Were Broadcasted In VR
August 14, 2018
The women's 5000m final during day six of the 24th European Athletics Championships at Olympiastadion on Aug. 12, 2018 in Berlin, Germany. (Photo by Stephen Pond/Getty Images for European Athletics)


For last week’s first ever multi-sport European Championships, the European Broadcasting Union created a virtual reality app to help member broadcasters enhance the viewing experience for fans. However, reviews on Google Play indicate the app suffered from bugs.


“The EBU has been a supporting partner of the European Championships since its inception, with a clear desire to not only bring the widest possible exposure for the event, but to also lead the way in innovation for how the event is promoted and presented to audiences,” said Stefan Kürten, director of EBU Sport, in a statement that announced the launch.


“This approach will drive new audiences to the coverage, creating a massive footprint across all screens, supporting and helping our member broadcasters and partners to the fullest. We’re proud to have worked together with our Members, EMS (European Media Services) and key event stakeholders to deliver on this ambition.”


The championships ran from Aug. 2 to Aug. 12, with events in both in Berlin, Germany and Glasgow, Scotland. The VR platform aimed to provide viewers with an opportunity to experience the event in a deeper way than through a 2D screen. Users had access to over 50 hours of athletics content from Berlin’s Olympic Stadium, as well as access to live feeds from Glasgow. (The app is still available in the App Store and Google Play.)


SportTechie Takeaway

This is the first year of the multi-sport European Championships, which was formed by combining the existing championships of different sports into one larger tournament. Like many other media organizations, the EBU is hoping to use VR to enhance viewer engagement. FOX Sports broadcast games from this summer’s World Cup in VR, MLB hosted a Home Run Derby VR tournament during All-Star week, and in March, the South Texas Regional Adaptive & Paralympic Sports program launched a VR wheelchair basketball game to teach people more about that sport. But VR technology has often struggled to live up to expectations, and perhaps hasn’t yet found its killer app.

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