Ticket prices for the Final Four later this month are ridiculous. Even the worst seats in the arena at the University of Phoenix go for well over $400. Heck, you could probably buy Hamilton tickets for that much. So most people will be content to watch the last four March Madness teams battle it out from the comfort of their living rooms.
Facebook-owned Oculus and the NCAA think that watching from home should be the richest experience possible. That’s why they’re broadcasting the Final Four games and the NCAA basketball championship game (as well as the semi-finals and the finals of the West regional) live in virtual reality. Anyone with a Samsung Gear VR can tune in via the NCAA March Madness Live VR app. Unlike many previous live sporting events broadcast in VR, these won’t be free, however. Oculus, along with the NCAA, Intel, and Turner Sports, have chosen an interesting pricing model. Though it will be possible to get a four-minute preview for free (to make sure you want to dive in for real), it’ll cost $1.99 per game for a single-camera view, or $2.99 a game ($7.99 for all six matchups) for access to multiple camera angles as well as game commentary tailored for VR viewers. Keep an eye out for that kind of pricing in the future. If it works, it may be how live sports are shown in VR from here on out.