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NBC Sports makes first major foray into VR with Kentucky Derby

The NBC Sports Group division of US media company NBCUniversal linked up with virtual reality technology company NextVR to present coverage of this year’s Kentucky Derby US horse-racing event.

NBC Sports utilised seven virtual reality cameras, five of which were placed on the trackside to capture uninterrupted footage of races. Two other cameras were positioned in the paddock area of Churchill Downs, the racecourse that hosted this year’s event on May 7.

The virtual reality presentation included exclusive content from NBC Sports, such as feature stories and race data. Content was displayed on a virtual video screen, which mimicked the giant video display at Churchill Downs.

NBC Sports also presented virtual reality coverage of two other races that took place on the same day, prior to the running of the 142nd Kentucky Derby.

Presentations were made available through the NBC channel application on NextVR's portal. Samsung Gear VR owners were able to download the app on any Gear VR headset-compatible phones.

The initiative marked the first occasion that NBC Sports has presented coverage of a major sports event in virtual reality.