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The New Way to Watch Sport

by Beth Divine 9 feb 2018

Watching the big game on television has its advantages – especially with modern television broadcasts that can be paused and rewound on demand. Watching the game in the stadium brings you up close to the action, you can see, and hear, and feel the crowd all around you and become part of that indefinable entity that is a united sporting fan-base. However, watching on television is a distant and lonely affair, just you by yourself, or perhaps with a few buddies – but removed from the action, watching remotely. Attending matches can be great if the weather is good and tempers remain in check – but a cold or rainy day can blight your mood, or a couple of ill-tempered, bad-mannered hooligans can ruin the event for you, themselves and many others… Is there any way to get the best of both worlds?

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Yes – virtual reality is the answer! Get comfortable, beer (or beverage of choice) to hand, slip on your virtual reality headset and join the crowd. With virtual reality you can pick which seat you would like, or even position yourself in an impossible place – hovering over the field of play like the Goodyear blimp, perhaps!

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Watching your favourite team in virtual reality gives you all the benefits of watching from home. You can pause at will, go to the loo when you need to without worrying about queues or missing important goals. You can dress as comfortably as you like, with no need to dress up (although, of course, you can if you want to!) VR removes the negatives of watching from home, that sense of distance, being far from the action, and missing out on that wonderful bonding experience that comes from being part of the crowd.

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With virtual reality, you can explore the ground in a way that is impossible in real life. You can wander through the tunnel, explore the changing rooms and even venture into the commentators’ box to enjoy their unique birds’ eye view over the field of play. With spatial sound and full 360° field of view, the only limit to your virtual reality attendance is the placing of the cameras and sensors – and we already know that sports games probably get the best coverage of any event as every once-in-a-lifetime moment must be captured, preferably in crystal sharp high-definition or better. And this virtual reality game comes with none of the negatives that come with attending matches in person; these can include rowdy people (when did booing become acceptable for anything other than bad sportsmanship?) the possibility of rain, wind or worse, getting stuck with poor seating, and the perennial battle to access transport home afterwards without being crushed in a bus or train!

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While there may be a certain something missing from a virtual reality spectacle, it does have a lot going for it. And as the technology improves, it may not be long before we will genuinely feel that we are at the stadium, smelling the hot dogs and feeling the breeze on our faces – all from the cosy comfort of home!

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