The idea of a courtside view of Kevin Durant and Steph Curry launching three-pointers in the same jersey is surreal enough if you’re watching on TV, let alone virtual reality. Today, the NBA has unveiled the full schedule for the 25 games it will live-stream with leading VR producer NextVR once a week in virtual reality for the 2016-17 season.
All 30 teams will appear in at least one of the 25 games, starting with tonight’s matchup between the San Antonio Spurs and the Sacramento Kings in the King’s new arena, the Golden 1 Center. One game will be live-streamed in VR every Tuesday via the free NextVR app’s NBA channel.
The NBA is aiming to bring fans courtside seasts every tuesday by completely revamping its live virtual reality experience from last season. This season there will be announcers, VR-specific commentary, in-arena entertainment during breaks in the game, and behind-the-scenes footage. Highlights, condensed games, and full games will also be available on demand in the NextVR app following each game.
Fourteen teams will play multiple games in VR, including Lebron James and the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers. James and the crew may have dethroned the Golden State Warriors in the NBA Finals in June, but the Warriors are still the team the NBA champions in VR. The hosts of the NBA’s first game VR game last season, they will be the only team to play in four VR games this year, including three times in the last month of the season.
The NBA may be years away from selling VR tickets to games, but will see if fans are interested in having VR included in their NBA purchase. The games will only be available to NBA League Pass subscribers who pay for the $200 full-season package, at no additional cost. There will be a free League Pass trial period over the next five days so all of the NBA’s millions of fans can get a chance to see the Los Angeles Lakers face off against the Indiana Pacers on November 1.
VR may not be as polarizing as three-point-shooting centers in the NBA, but is not fully embraced by all teams. Teams such as the Kings, Cavaliers, and Warriors have either invested in VR studios, given fans VR headsets, or used it to convince once-in-a-lifetime players to join their team. Then there are the skeptics, like verbose Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban.
“I would rather be in the top row at a game than watching a live VR stream, and I don’t see that changing in many, many years,” Cuban told [a]listdaily in March. Interestingly, the Mavericks’ American Airlines Center is one of only three arenas to be wired for VR this season.
To watch the games you will need a Samsung Gear VR headset and a compatible Samsung phone, along with login credentials for your NBA League Pass account.
Check out the full schedule of games below to plan your next VR outing:
- October 27, 2016 — San Antonio Spurs at Sacramento Kings, 10:30 p.m. ET
- November 1, 2016 — Los Angeles Lakers at Indiana Pacers, 7 p.m. ET
- November 8, 2016 — Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers, 10 p.m. ET
- November 15, 2016 — Brooklyn Nets at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:30 p.m. ET
- November 22, 2016 — Portland Trail Blazers at New York Knicks, 7:30 p.m. ET
- November 29, 2016 — Cleveland Cavaliers at Milwaukee Bucks, 8 p.m. ET
- December 6, 2016 — New York Knicks at Miami Heat, 7:30 p.m. ET
- December 13, 2016 — Golden State Warriors at New Orleans Pelicans, 8 p.m. ET
- December 20, 2016 — Denver Nuggets at LA Clippers, 10:30 p.m. ET
- December 27, 2016 — Memphis Grizzlies at Boston Celtics, 7:30 p.m. ET
- January 3, 2017 — Toronto Raptors at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 p.m. ET
- January 10, 2017 — Cleveland Cavaliers at Utah Jazz, 9 p.m. ET
- January 17, 2017 — Minnesota Timberwolves at San Antonio Spurs, 8:30 p.m. ET
- January 24, 2017 — Boston Celtics at Washington Wizards, 7 p.m. ET
- January 31, 2017 — Sacramento Kings at Houston Rockets, 8 p.m. ET
- February 7, 2017 — Portland Trail Blazers at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. ET
- February 14, 2017 — Toronto Raptors at Chicago Bulls, 8 p.m. ET
- February 23, 2017 — Portland Trail Blazers at Orlando Magic, 7 p.m. ET
- February 28, 2017 — Utah Jazz at Oklahoma City Thunder, 8 p.m. ET
- March 7, 2017 — Washington Wizards at Phoenix Suns, 9 p.m. ET
- March 14, 2017 — Philadelphia 76ers at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET
- March 21, 2017 — Golden State Warriors at Dallas Mavericks, 8:30 p.m. ET
- March 28, 2017 — Miami Heat at Detroit Pistons, 7:30 p.m. ET
- April 4, 2017 — Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors, 10:30 p.m. ET
- April 11, 2017 — Charlotte Hornets at Atlanta Hawks, 7:30 p.m. ET