The most popular requests from consumers interviewed for VR (virtual reality) content include lifestyle activities such as concerts and sports, according to Consumer Technology Association (CTA).
CTA also projects that VR headset sales in the U.S. will reach 2.5 million units this year, a 79% increase over last year. Since VR offers an immersive, unique experience—engaging audiences and exploring their interests like no other medium—more VR-enabled live events makes sense. Of course, it takes programming resources and consumer buy-in, but isn’t that true with any major medium shift?
Here are 4 live event scenarios that we hope gain mainstream VR adoption and coverage quickly.
When tickets went on sale for the boxing “super fight” between Floyd Mayweather Jr. and Conor McGregor, fans were forced to spend thousands just to get a ticket. What if fans could consume the high-sensory realism of the fight—but at the cost of pay-per-view—with a 360°, live-streamed experience on their VR headsets?
Perhaps the next super fight will be VR-enabled, as the NBA, NASCAR, MLB and other professional sports have experimented with VR broadcasts. What about the NFL? Since less than 1% of Americans will ever attend a Super Bowl, perhaps that’s the next massive sporting event to capitalize on VR.
2) Concerts and festivals
Wish you could follow Beyoncé, U2, Justin Timberlake or Adele around the world on tour—if it weren’t for time, money and responsibility holding you back? What about never missing festivals such as Glastonbury, SXSW, Coachella or even Burning Man?
Soon, you’ll be able to join your favorite artists on global stages (forget the cheap seats) simply by strapping on your VR headset. Unlike traditional one-dimensional footage of live concerts, you choose whether to focus on the charismatic lead singer, genius guitar player or raucous crowd. Then, switch to a birds-eye drone view of the entire event—or maybe just chill back stage with the next act.
3) Large-scale corporate events
Last year, Salesforce overbooked the entire city of San Francisco when 171,000 attendees from 83 countries registered for its Dreamforce event. It’s worth noting that Dreamforce is the second largest corporate tech event held in the U.S., with CES holding down the #1 spot in Las Vegas. Do you see opportunity for live VR streaming?
Since these popular events sell out regularly, perhaps thousands more will soon experience everything they have to offer—from the comfort of home. Although it will take multiple 360° cameras positioned in expo halls, meeting rooms and main stages, these innovation events are ripe for the VR experience. If you can’t attend the event, you can still check out the latest gadgets, engage at breakout sessions and get a front seat for the super-famous, highly paid keynote speaker.
4) Historical governmental and political events
The coronation of Queen Elizabeth II in 1953 at Westminster Abbey was viewed on television by 27 million people in the U.K. (out of the 36 million population at the time). It’s often said that this event changed live television forever.
Will it take a global governmental or political event to change live VR streaming forever? If so, our bets are on the next U.K. coronation or U.S. presidential inauguration (and don’t rule out the heated debates leading up to the latter).