Why it matters to you
This is the first time the NCAA has charged money to watch a game in virtual reality.
At this point, your bracket for the NCAA March Madness tournament may be busted but not your chances of catching a few of the games courtside. This year, fans can spend at least $3 to watch one of the upcoming games from this year’s March Madness tournament in virtual reality — marking the first time it costs viewers money to watch an NCAA game in VR.
Through the NCAA March Madness Live VR app, fans will be able to watch games from the Sweet 16 and Elite Eight in virtual reality for the first time, along with the Final Four, and national title game. According to the NCAA’s official announcement, fans will only be able to get a virtual courtside seat for up to six of the 15 games. The six games will include the three regional games from San Jose, California, the two Final Four games, and the national championship.
The gold package charges $3 per game or $8 to purchase six games. The silver package only charges $2 per game but does not offer an option to pay for six at a discounted price. The gold package gives you views from multiple courtside cameras, sounds from inside the arena, and sports commentary exclusively for those watching in VR. With the silver package you only get to see the game from one courtside camera, and the same game commentary you would get from watching the game on TV.
In 2016, the app streamed the two Final Four games and the national title game between the University of North Carolina and eventual winner Villanova University for free. This year, the Sweet 16 has quite a few marquee matchups, including UCLA prodigal talent Lonzo Ball facing against the machine that is coach John Calipari’s University of Kentucky.
When you can buy these VR tickets has yet to be announced, but should be the closer we get to Thursday’s initial games. The NCAA March Madness Live VR app is available to download now via the Oculus store.
The Sweet 16 and Elite Eight will run between Thursday and Sunday on TBS, TNT, TruTV, and CBS.