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MLB Sets Pact With Intel for VR Free Live-Streaming Games

Variety logo Variety 6/1/2017 Todd Spangler
© Provided by Variety

Intel and Major League Baseball have joined forces to bring America’s pastime to virtual reality.

Under a three-year pact, Intel will live-stream one free out-of-market game each week (on Tuesdays) via its Intel True VR app on Samsung Gear headsets starting June 6. The broadcasts will include post-game highlights and on-demand replays for each game.

The Intel-MLB virtual-reality deal represents another experimental push into VR entertainment. For Intel, the pact will serve largely as a branding opportunity to get in front of early tech adopters.

According to Intel, there’s demand for baseball in VR. The company commissioned a survey of 500 MLB fans ages 18-64, conducted by Turnkey Intelligence, which found that 71% would be interested in watching an MLB game in VR that they are unable to attend. It isn’t clear, however, whether those consumers would be willing to pay a premium for the VR experience.

The “Intel True VR Game of the Week” will let viewers control their vantage point by selecting from up to four camera angles per game; alternatively, they can opt to watch a produced VR broadcast experience. In addition, the Intel VR baseball experience will provide live player and team stats throughout the games plus exclusive commentary.

“As a VR partner of MLB, Intel is delivering a truly immersive virtual reality live-stream where fans can experience the excitement of being at the ballpark every week,” said James Carwana, GM of Intel Sports Group.

Separately, on Thursday MLB’s At Bat app is scheduled to launch a VR mode, initially for Google’s Daydream headset and Android smartphones. The new VR option will let users access live stats and scores while watching games in HD video, and includes a 3D strike-zone cube as well as a collection of 360-degree on-demand videos. But to watch games in VR video, fans will have to turn to Intel’s VR app for the Samsung Gear.

Here’s the lineup of MLB games for the Intel True VR experience in June:

Cleveland Indians vs. Colorado Rockies on June 6 at 8:40 p.m. ET

Kansas City Royals vs. San Francisco Giants on June 13 at 10:15 p.m. ET

Detroit Tigers vs. Seattle Mariners on June 20 at 10:10 p.m. ET

St. Louis Cardinals vs. Arizona Diamondbacks on June 27 at 9:40 p.m. ET

Updates on the Intel True VR Game of the Week are available at intel.com/truevr.

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