Friday November 11th, 2016

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When the Minnesota Golden Gophers football team plays at the No. 19 Nebraska Cornhuskers on Saturday evening, it won’t just be your ordinary broadcast; the game will be shown live in virtual reality.

The Big Ten Network announced Thursday it had partnered with VOKE, a virtual reality company that was just acquired by technology giant Intel for the production.

“We’re always exploring ways to integrate new technology into the Big Ten fan experience,” Michael Calderon, BTN Vice President of Digital Media and Programming, said in a statement. “We see virtual reality and our partnership with VOKE as an opportunity to provide Big Ten fans a unique way to watch their favorite team from a whole new perspective.”

Four 180-degree HD cameras will capture the game while augmented graphics and live audio will funnel through the TrueVR experience. Fans can download VOKE’s GearVR app via the Oculus Store and watch the game using a Gear VR headset and Samsung smartphone. Additionally, for the first time ever during a virtual reality broadcast, highlights will be posted in the app in near-real-time.

“We are excited to partner with the Big Ten Network to create the first-ever live VR broadcast of a football game by a collegiate sports network,” VOKE Chief Commercial Officer Jeff Jonas said in a statement. “The history, tradition and passion in the Big Ten is incredible and this partnership will introduce live VR to a rabid fan base, while allowing BTN to provide their audience with a fully immersive experience no matter where they are.”

Earlier this season, FOX Sports became the first sports media entity to broadcast a college football game live in virtual reality, as Oklahoma and Ohio State squared off in mid-September. Big Ten Network is operated by FOX Sports.

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