BT Sport gives away free Google Cardboard devices for UEFA Champions League VR final broadcast
The match in Cardiff between the newly-crowned champions of Spain Real Madrid and perennial Italian Serie A title winners Juventus will be broadcast in VR over YouTube and via a dedicated BT Sport virtual reality application.
BT Sport has used a number of technological innovations to attract subscribers and differentiate itself from principal rival Sky. The channel was the first to offer 4K transmissions and Dolby Atmos sound, while it has used mobile applications and IPTV to expand its reach.
Last year it broadcast the final for free via YouTube for the first time (It was also available on Freeview) and hopes its latest offer will see more fans tune in.
VR and applications are seen as essential by rights holders and sports organisations to attract and retain fans amid increasing competition among, not just different sports, but also forms of entertainment.
Google Cardboard is an inexpensive device that uses a smartphone to display 360 degree content. It is less sophisticated than fully-fledged devices from the likes of Oculus and HTC, but gives the user a taster of what is possible.
“We believe that VR can offer our viewers an immersive second screen view which will enhance our coverage,” said Pete Oliver, managing director. “We’re excited to be broadcasting what we believe to be the biggest multi-camera live 360° sporting event ever for the first time to our customers.”
BT has already run out of the units via its online registration page, but people can still get their hands on one by registering at an EE store from tomorrow. The company will also give out handsets at London Waterloo, London Liverpool Street and Birmingham New Street stations on the day before the match.