This October, the Sacramento Kings will open up a brand new $507 million dollar arena boasting 84 ft long screen almost as long as the court itself. Of course since this arena is in the Bay Area/Northern California part of the world it will be jacked with a high-capacity Wi-Fi system intended to give fans mobile Internet access comparable to high speed home broadband.
So great so now we can Snapchat, Instagram, and Facebook at the game faster than ever. Yes, but there are also bigger plans for all this investment.
Paul Jacobs, vice chairman and co-owner of the team, and also executive chairman of mobile chipmaker Qualcomm says "Fans could be given an up-close experience of the action no matter where they’re sitting"
The Kings are planing on allowing someone watching the game at the arena with access to a mobile VR headset such as GearVR be able to watch an instant reply call in full 360° view and in real time as the play is reviewed.
Another VR option the Kings are considering is having providing fan the ticket option to access high-end VR headsets rather than a conventional seat with a poor view.
“They'd still be there to feel the roar of the crowd and be part of it but be watching in a slightly different way,” Jacobs says.
The Sacramento Kings are heavily embracing Virtual Reality and recently invested in virtual reality video startup Voke. The team has also experimented with streaming action from the court to virtual-reality headsets outside the stadium as well as the recent uniform reveal via 360° video and Google Cardboard.
In 2015, a game against the Los Angeles Clippers was viewed by people at a school in India using headsets, something Jacobs feels could be common place in the future. Dan Gilbert, owner of NBA champions Cleveland Cavaliers has also shown interest in using this as a way to generate additional revenue from games.