NBA expands its live-streaming of games in VR for upcoming season

carmelo anthony nba virtual reality nextvr news cut
Mark D. Smith/USA TODAY Sports

For millions of New York Knicks fans, Carmelo Anthony’s megatrade to the Oklahoma City Thunder in September is a reality only believable in the virtual realm of NBA 2K. For the second consecutive year, the NBA and NextVR will live-stream games from the upcoming NBA season in virtual reality, and Anthony’s return to Madison Square Garden (MSG) is an early highlight on the schedule.

This season, 27 games will be live-streamed in virtual reality, six more than last year, via the NextVR app. Anthony and the new look Thunder make their first trip to MSG on December 16 at 7:30 p.m. ET. Anthony has shown support for virtual reality in the past, attesting the platform “could give fans at home an opportunity to experience a game as if they were courtside,” at TechCrunch Disrupt in 2016.

Even if the games are not streamed in virtual reality, NextVR will make it possible to watch those games in VR. The new NextVR Screening Room will allow anyone who logs into the NextVR app with their NBA League Pass authentication to watch up to 13 League Pass games at once on a massive virtual screen. Virtual popcorn and recliner chair not included.

To get a VR courtside seat to the games you’ll need an NBA League Pass subscription. Fans can either opt-in for the entire season at $200, or choose individual games at $7 per game. Luckily, Anthony’s New York return will be one of four games that are part of the NBA League Pass free preview to anyone with a compatible headset and phone. This is all part of the NBA’s plans to determine people’s interest in watching live NBA games in virtual reality.

Steph Curry and the Golden State Warriors will once again be the most featured NBA team in VR with four games on the VR schedule. But the boys from the Bay are not the only ones with marquee games in VR. The Cleveland Cavaliers will visit the Minnesota Timberwolves on January 6 in a duel between two of the teams that underwent the biggest changes this offseason. The Cavaliers traded their star point guard Kyrie Irving away, but added Derrick Rose, Isaiah Thomas, and Lebron’s BFF Dwayne Wade. The Timberwolves added three-time NBA All Star Jimmy Butler.

The NextVR app is available on the Samsung Gear VR, and Google Daydream. The games will also be available in VR on Microsoft’s upcoming Windows Mixed Reality Viewer, starting October 17. The first regular season game that is a part of the VR schedule is the Houston Rockets hosting the Dallas Mavericks at 8 p.m. ET on October 21.  The full VR schedule of games is available at NextVR’s official website.