The National Football League and Google are producing the league’s first virtual reality video series. The upcoming nine-part VR show will debut its first episode on the NFL’s YouTube channel on Thanksgiving Day. Before the end of 2016, the series will also be in the NFL VR app for Google’s upcoming Daydream View headset. The entire series is being filmed with Google’s Jump virtual reality capture system.
The NFL sees this unnamed series as a way for viewers to experience a behind-the-scenes look at the NFL. It will provide a “360-degree perspective of life in and around the NFL—from players, to coaches, to executives, to cheerleaders, to the fans themselves—detailing how each prepares for game day.”
That suggests this will not be an episodic story line that you might see in an NFL-themed show like Hard Knocks. Instead, it sounds more like a series of nine stand alone episodes.
The first episode, landing on November 24, features the defensive line of the Philadelphia Eagles during their week-long preparation for game day. The episode will also take you to the sidelines during the actual game. Other episodes will feature the Miami Dolphins cheerleaders, football fans in Green Bay, and the management offices of the San Diego Chargers.
The story behind the story: The NFL and its teams are showing a lot of interest in both VR and augmented reality. The Dallas Cowboys signed a deal to use VR headsets during pre-season training in 2015. Earlier in 2016 the NFL provided VR demos of live game footage to fans leading up to the Super Bowl. The NFL also held a discussion panel with Microsoft on the “Future of Football” that centered around how the HoloLens could bring new experiences to the game, such as viewing a game or key plays on your living room coffee table.