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May 30, 2017

UFC grapples with virtual reality in Samsung tie-up

UFC 212: Aldo vs. Holloway will be the first fight in UFC history to be streamed in VR.

By Ellie Burns

Samsung has signed a number of entertainment partnerships which will see the UFC, X Games and Live Nation broadcast in immersive virtual reality.

VR Live Pass on Gear VR will be available through the Samsung VR app in early June, enabling Gear VR users to watch live entertainment events and performances no matter where they are. In addition, Samsung recently expanded its global presence to 45 countries, enabling more consumers around the world to enjoy the Gear VR platform.

“We are excited to offer Samsung Gear VR users the opportunity to experience their favourite live music and sporting events through our industry-leading VR ecosystem,” said Younghee Lee, CMO and Executive Vice President, Samsung Electronics.

“Partnering with these companies to expand our VR services helps us to open up a new gateway of opportunities for fans and demonstrate our commitment to delivering experiences that make the seemingly impossible, possible.”

Kicking-off the one-of-a-kind broadcasts will be the UFC featherweight fight between  José Aldo and Max Holloway on June 3 – the first time in UFC history an event will be live streamed in Virtual Reality. 

Fans will be able to fully immersive themselves in the fight with the high-quality 360-degree live stream, as well as access additional VR content, including pre-event and post-event show highlights with UFC featherweight champion Aldo and interim UFC featherweight champion Holloway.

“We’ve always felt that the potential of combining UFC events with virtual reality would give our fans the ultimate enhanced experience,” UFC Chief Operating Officer Ike Lawrence Epstein said.

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“We’re excited to partner with Samsung on this game-changing initiative to further revolutionise how fight fans consume our content and live events around the world.”

Later in the month, Gear VR users will have the opportunity to watch the X Games Minneapolis. Users will be able to watch the world’s best BMX riders and skaters, including Jimmy Wilkins, Chad Kerley and Jagger Eaton from the comfort of their own home between July 13 and July 16.

Through these partnerships, Samsung will provide fans with an electrifying new way to experience live entertainment without the need to physically attend the events.

Gear VR users will be given an unrivalled ‘live pass’ to shows, where they will witness live action shots and extreme close-ups, taking spectatorship to an entirely new level. Gear VR users will be able to access this content at no cost.


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