Wednesday August 31st, 2016

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What’s the next best thing to physically being in State College?

According to Michael Cross, Assistant Athletic Director for New Business Development, it’s through virtual reality.

Penn State Athletics and EON Sports VR recently inked a partnership to create LionVision VR, a medium which will give Nittany Lions fans the opportunity to view exclusive content in VR. The partnership puts PSU Athletics at the forefront of fan engagement, becoming one of the first athletic departments to offer fans a dedicated virtual reality channel.

“We’re very excited to partner with Penn State Athletics, and together, look forward to providing Nittany Lion fans with a fresh and exciting way to view content,” said Brendan Reilly, CEO and Founder of EON Sports VR, a VR sports training and fan experience company. “Additionally, we commend Penn State for being the first Big Ten university to lead the charge within the virtual reality fan-engagement space.”

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EON Sports VR, which announced a similar partnership with the University of Miami (Fla.) in early August, will now provide Penn State fans behind-the-scenes footage of practices, post-game locker room coaches’ talks and other unique experiences.

“LionVision VR will allow Nittany Lion fans spread across the world to see, hear and feel what it’s like to be part of practice and game day in ways that were never previously possible,” Cross said in a press release.

On Aug. 25, sales launched for LionVision VR where fans could purchase an annual subscription for $29.95. The 2016-17 subscription will end June 30, 2017 and include additional practice footage, scrimmages and student-athlete interviews from all 31 teams. For those fans who purchase before Oct. 3, they will receive a free, Penn State-branded VR headset, too.

As schools continue to address how to better connect fans with their favorite teams, look for more athletic departments and professional organizations to experiment with virtual reality.

“Access and experience enhances the fan’s connection with their favorite team,” Reilly added. “VR can provide fans a first-person perspective to experiences that used to be only experienced by athletes/coaches. It’s a level of engagement and access we’ve all dreamed about, but never have been able to experience until now.”

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