For the second year in a row, Fox Sports presented fans an opportunity to experience the Big East Tournament in a different way, with their Fox Sports VR app. With more media outlets beginning to offer these types of auxiliary viewing options, I decided to give it a try and see what it is all about.
I’m a traditionalist when it comes to my sports viewing, preferring the usual TV presentation or actually being at games live, so I entered into this experiment with some skepticism. But as I began navigating the app, I was quickly impressed with what was offered.
Setting up was easy enough. Simply download the app, verify your cable provider credentials and start watching. The app provided four separate cameras, two on the sideline opposite each bench and one behind each basket. You could move the camera with your finger, providing a 360-degree view of New York's Madison Square Garden.
What I Liked
Immediately, I liked how easy it was to set up and get started. The setup took less than a minute. Within a few minutes I had a feel for what the app had to offer and how to maximize the experience. Even those who are less than tech savvy would have no problem using the platform and enhancing their viewing experience.
It was incredibly easy to switch between cameras, with small buttons on the screen allowing the user to change their view. The sideline cameras were marked by a circle, while the basket cameras were marked with a net symbol.
The ability to move the current camera by sliding your finger on the screen allowed the user to seamlessly keep up with fast-paced action. A steal, a fast break or any rapid change in the action was easily kept up with by simply using your finger to follow the action.
What I liked the most were the auxiliary options in the app. As you scrolled all the way to one side of the arena, you were presented with the score and a box containing the live TV feed. Scrolling to the other end of the arena, you found the Big East Tournament Lounge, with access to highlights of all the day’s action. Scroll down, and you find the updated Big East Tournament bracket, including scores of previous games and times for upcoming matchups.
What I Didn’t Like
There was a slight lag when switching between cameras. Each time you hit the button to switch a camera, the screen would go black with a buffering indicator. This made switching cameras during the action a risky proposition, and forced you to think ahead in terms of what camera would be best at that time. Not ideal for something as fluid as a basketball game.
When using the sideline camera, there were times when you would find your view blocked by the referee. The cameras were very close to where the sideline official sets up during half-court sets. At times you were subjected to seeing nothing but the back of the official’s pants.
While the ability to move the camera by scrolling was a plus, there were times where the pace of the game made it difficult to have the best look. I could keep the action in the frame, but when the action was particularly quick it was difficult to keep up and get the view that I wanted.
Overall, I was pleased with the experience. It was a pretty ambitious project, and it was executed well. As a fan, it was nice to get the Spike Lee view that many of us will never get the opportunity to experience in real life, and the app definitely provided a courtside viewing experience. I would never watch a full game on a platform like this, but it certainly enhanced the viewing experience.
Josh Naso aka The Silver Fox has a love for all things sports that borders on disorder. Here, he aims to share his thoughts on and passion for those sports with you.