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On the 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass during THE PLAYERS Championship, fans will be able to experience the iconic hole live in virtual reality. Fans that have a Samsung Gear VR headset and download the “PGA TOUR VR Live” app can watch a dedicated VR stream, making it the first time the PGA TOUR will produce any part of an event live in virtual reality.
The TOUR partnered with Intel True VR for the upcoming experience as three concurrent VR cameras will be positioned around the green, tee box and walkway from the tee box to the green.
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For those who don’t have a virtual reality headset, the 360-degree video stream from May 11-14 will be available exclusively on Twitter and Periscope, an announcement made Monday night along with other sports live streaming initiatives during Twitter’s Digital Content NewFronts presentation .
“We are excited that THE PLAYERS Championship will host the PGA TOUR’s first live virtual reality production,” Rick Anderson, PGA TOUR Chief Media Officer said in a statement. “The PGA TOUR has experimented with virtual reality content for nearly two years. We tested Intel’s True VR technology on a live basis at the Genesis Open in February, and were very pleased with the quality. We decided that executing a live VR experience on one of the most dramatic holes in golf was something that our fans would love, and the fact that we are partnering with Twitter to deliver 360 video will offer tremendous scale.”
Added David Aufhauser, Managing Director of Intel Sports Group said in a statement: “The Intel True VR platform will provide golf fans with a new, immersive experience using our end-to-end solution. From our stereoscopic cameras at the iconic 17th hole to creating a PGA TOUR VR application for THE PLAYERS Championship, we work with our partners to create the best fan experience. Working with the PGA TOUR, as well as global distribution via Twitter and Periscope, gives us the ability to expand the Intel True VR experience to more fans.”
THE PLAYERS Championship in mid-May will also be the first time that Twitter has distributed live 360-degree video during a majoring sporting event. In early January, the social platform won the PGA TOUR bid for exclusive live streaming rights for 2016-17 season. Twitter highlighted last week in its Q1 letter to shareholders that its airing of PGA TOUR LIVE on Thursdays and Fridays over the past three months has averaged nearly 500,000 unique viewers each day. Additionally, 70 percent of those individuals have been under the age of 35.
“The PGA TOUR continues to innovate for their highly-engaged fan base on both Twitter and Periscope,” Laura Froelich, Twitter’s Global Head of Sports Partnerships said in a statement. “Thanks to this collaboration, golf fans around the world will have exclusive and unique live access to the renowned 17th hole at TPC Sawgrass.”