• Trenton L Bice

Spatializing Software & how Virtual Reality will help the NBA & Sports Leagues through the P

Week 2

This week for Immersive Audio 456 we explored different spatializing software and which may be the best plugins to use for this project. Spatializing software attempts to simulate how our ears and brain experience sounds in space, replicating the degrees and distance a sound may be localised from the listener.

The spatializing software can be used to help the listener feel like they are listening in a true 3D space when experiencing with headphones or VR head-tracking devices, currently popular in gaming. Based on recommendations I have installed the Facebook 360 Video spatializer to use with Reaper in creating the VR audio for the Assassin’s Creed list, as outlined in the previous blog post.

In researching this software it also opened my mind to the future possibilities of the in-home VR experience, particularly the potential for live supporting events. As a big follower of the NBA for the past 20+ years, I was aware of their interest in implementing VR but unaware of how available it already is, with “Oculus Arenas” already available to us at-home. The Pros & Cons were recently discuss by MensHealth magazine here. This is most relevant as I think to potential career opportunities and how I can have skills developed for future trends, getting myself ahead of the learning curve and industry-standard, a clear advantage for possible employment by utilising the skills I’m learning through this project. With the currently restricted fan access at all sporting events worldwide due to the pandemic, this VR experience, as it gets refined gives companies like the NBA, EPL and AFL an unlimited income potential. What I mean by this is, if you consider now the premium courtside seat at a Los Angeles Lakers game, sitting on the floor between the coach and the bench is a premium high-status ticket, usually a monopoly owned by agents and marketing companies distributed to wealthy clients. Whilst this is a premium seat saved for Jack Nicholson and his best mates, these seats league-wide range from $300 - $50,000. ESPN business insider Darren Rovell reported in 2017 two seats went for a record $133,00 USD.

Using this theory and the fact there are only a limited number of courtside seats, by using VR to give the fans tiers of price options for levels of seating for them to experience from in-home, not just visually but audibly as well. With two premium seats peaking at $100k for one of the biggest games of the year, this revenue could be made more on each game as millions of people could have the option to select these premium seats for their viewing pleasure from home. This revenue could package greater with the option of access to the courtside microphones, giving deeper access to the banter of player, coaches and officials, the squeeks of the shoes and the bounce of the ball at a real 360 degree sound depth, even more realistic crowd atmosphere, thus enhancing the in-arena experience to the chair. This could be added or replaced the standard commentary from the basic TV coverage, which also at times masks crowd, player and equipment noise.

Much like pay-per-view for primetime events, daily pay-per-VR could be a valuable way for sports leagues to help supplement lost income due to the pandemic, especially in a time of no in-arena fans. Then as fans gradually are allowed back in stadiums, this VR buzz and trial will already have been tested and exposure grown, making fans in not just other cities, but countries, crave to pay that extra $50 or $100 to feel closer to Lebron James, Kevin Durant (NBA) or Lionel Messi (EPL), giving them the experience they may only have had the opportunity by flying thousands of kilometres (and spending even more thousands of hard-earned dollars) across the world.

VR and spatialised software have the potential to revolutionise sports fandom in a way not experienced since the implementation of HD TV, surround sound and prior to that colour television. Let’s see what the future sounds like. Links "Pros & Cons of NBA VR - Mens Health - https://www.mensjournal.com/gear/the-highs-and-lows-of-watching-an-nba-game-in-vr-w510072/#:~:text=When%20you%20fire%20up%20the,much%20like%20a%20normal%20broadcast.

Jack Nicholson c"hats" with ref courtside https://www.youtube.com/watch?time_continue=57&v=OL_s5OlUavk&feature=emb_title

"How much are NBA Courtside seats?" https://www.sportscasting.com/how-much-are-courtside-tickets-at-nba-g "Courtside seat record price" https://cdn.espn.com/nba/story/_/id/19616802/buyer-pays-133k-two-courtside-tickets-game-5-nba-finals-golden-state-warriors-cleveland-cavaliers

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