FOX Sports Eredivisie, a premium television service offering coverage of the Dutch football league, used virtual reality images to enhance a live broadcast of the Feyenoord-PSV Eindhoven match Sunday.
FOX Sports Eredivisie collaborated with VR company Beyond Sports on using a virtual cameraman wearing an HTC Vive in order to see and record the game from multiple angles. The virtual camera could be controlled and manually adjusted to any spot on the field, enabling fans to see virtual images from a player’s perspective and through the eyes of a goalkeeper or free kick taker.
The director of the live television broadcast had the option to use content from the virtual cameraman for the live broadcast. Virtual moments could either be used live or for replays, with a split screen providing context to what virtual images the audience was seeing.
“The images themselves are indeed virtual, but the situations on the field are real,” FOX Sports Netherlands head of production Henk van Meerkerk said in a statement.
For fans without a FOX Sports Eredivisie subscription, free live streaming of the match in a virtual environment was available for free on Twitch and YouTube.
Analysis in the postgame talk show “Dit was het Weekend” (Match of the Day) also included virtual reality angles. Using the Beyond Sports’ software in combination with the data-tracking of ChyronHego, moments could be relived through the eyes of the players and coach. For example, analyst Ronald de Boer used VR to give fans a look from the perspective of the player that gave the assist on the first goal from Feyenoord.
As it turned out, the game-winning goal for Feyenoord that left everyone talking was one that was enabled by technology. PSV Eindhoven goalkeeper Jeroen Zoet made a save, but then proceeded to move the ball back toward the goal. An official pointed to his watch, indicating that goal-line technology had detected a goal for Feyenoord.