There’s really no better place to experience a big fight than at the stadium. Getting your ticket scanned, the food, the $15 beer, finding your seats & the buzz you get from watching a fight with thousands of other people is indescribable. It’s not just about watching a prize fight, it’s the experience.
But what about when you’re at home?
Over the weekend at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn NY, long time Brooklyn residents Daniel Jacobs and Peter Quillin squared off in the main event in what was a highly anticipated fight. It didn’t last very long.
Following the event Showtime released a 360º video of the fight (above). And well, it looks like the future. It’s not exactly VR (virtual reality), but it certainly is a taste of it.
NEW YORK, NY – December 8, 2015 – For the first time ever, a boxing match has been released in its entirety in 360 degree immersive virtual reality, as SHOWTIME captured the shocking first round TKO from Saturday night’s main event between WBA Middleweight World Champion Daniel Jacobs’ and previously undefeated challenger Peter Quillin. The all-Brooklyn main event has been made available in 360 video from ring-side, giving fans an unprecedented boxing experience. The virtual reality video engrosses viewers in the matchup of the top middleweights, facing off in the prime of their career, where Brooklyn’s Jacobs (31-1, 28 KOs) won the “Battle For Brooklyn.” The 360 footage is viewable on the SHOWTIME Sports’ YouTube channel*, the SHOWTIME Boxing Facebook page, on the Samsung Gear VR via the MILK VR app and Littlestar VR apps for Samsung Gear VR, iOS and Android.
What is 360º video?
According to Tech Target, it’s “360-degree VR (360-degree virtual reality) is an audiovisual simulation of an altered, augmented or substituted environment that surrounds the user, allowing them to look around them in all directions, just as they can in real life.”
Basically you feel immersed in the video and you can look wherever the hell you want. Sure, the quality is a bit low right now – but it will improve.
How do you watch?
On your desktop you can just open the video, Youtube supports 360º video. You can use your mouse to drag around the video and look at different things. Cool enough.
But the experience is far superior using the YouTube app on your Android or iPhone. Moving your phone will tilt and pan the frame in the corresponding direction. Presumably, the effect is best experienced with Google Cardboard or a similar frame.
Possibilities in fight sports
Just watch the Jacobs/Quillin fight above and use your imagination.
Imagine being cage side for the Holly Holm/Ronda Rousey fight? How did Holly Holm’s corner react? Quick, let’s have a look. What about February 11th, 1990 when Buster Douglas knocked out Mike Tyson? Could you imagine watching Tyson groping on the canvas for his mouthpiece and placing it haphazardly between his teeth as he struggled to his feet while quickly look at his corner, the ref or the crowd? Crazy awesome.
Technology will never replace the feeling of being at a big fight. There’s simply nothing like it. But for the millions of people watching at home this just seems like it may be the next best thing.