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MLB set to launch Oculus VR live streams

Players agree to expand 2020 post-season to 16 teams.

by Steven Impey

MLB set to launch Oculus VR live streams
  • VR broadcasts include advanced player tracking and 3D pitches
  • Oculus platform offers more live out-of-market matches than previous Intel deal

Major League Baseball (MLB) has launched a new Oculus Quest-supported virtual reality (VR) platform that allows subscribers to the league’s MLB.tv subscription service to live stream out-of-market games using a headset.

The new MLB VR offering includes advanced player tracking statistics from MLB Statcast, while users are also able to analyse pitch locations via an immersive 3D strike zone. The app also features MLB.tv support, an interactive calendar, score updates, MLB standings, and on-demand, 360-degree video highlights.

Previously, MLB has streamed live matches via US technology giant Intel's True View platform, offering one weekly game broadcast via that app as part of a three-year deal signed in June 2017. 

MLB's new Oculus app promises more matches than were offered by the Intel deal, as well as full game replays from the 2018 and 2019 MLB campaigns.

The Oculus platform was launched ahead of the start of the shortened 60-game 2020 MLB season, which got underway 23rd July.

As play resumed behind closed doors, MLB and the Major League Baseball Players Association (MLBPA) agreed to expand the 2020 post-season to 16 teams, beginning with eight best-of-three Wild Card Series preceding the Division Series.

All of the new post-season games will be televised by Disney’s ESPN and WarnerMedia’s Turner Sports

MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said: “We are excited to announce the expansion of the 2020 post-season. This season will be a sprint to a new format that will allow more fans to experience playoff baseball. We look forward to a memorable Postseason concluding a year like no other and appreciate the continued partnership and enthusiasm of ESPN and TBS.”

Tony Clark, the MLBPA’s executive director, added: “The opportunity to add playoff games in this already-abbreviated season makes sense for fans, the league and players. We hope it will result in highly competitive pennant races as well as exciting additional playoff games to the benefit of the industry and all involved heading into next year.”