Arizona's representative NBA team, the Phoenix Suns, are reportedly set to bring VR to the sport in a big way and have already even gone so far as to send VR kits to season tickets holders. The kits they sent out were somewhat sparse on content and only featured a video of the team's star player, Devin Booker, putting basketballs through the hoop and then asking viewers to renew their tickets. However, team representatives are actively looking for new ways to incorporate the technology, including marketing uses, in-game fan experiences, and to help support team activities. Steve Reese and Nick Williams, the team's vice president chief information officer and producer of creative content respectively, see a platform to give fans in-game experiences such as sitting in an off-court huddle and being part of behind the scenes experiences. VR content could also be useful to the sports team in other ways as well, allowing coaches to review plays with players in a more in-depth way - from many angles and with a more immersive experience.
Despite the optimism, there is still some doubt surrounding the new technology. Some VR promoters are concerned that the technology could advance too far, giving fans a preference for the perks of a virtual game and causing drops in real-world game attendance. The team's President, Jason Rowley, is confident that the team can "pull back" from the technology if that happens, but believes a happy medium can be found to provide fans with extra experiences. He also sees the technology as a way to drive more fans to come to real games, citing that people will want to "experience what it feels like to have the real deal" after watching in a virtual setting.
The Suns are not the first in a major sports league to begin the pursuit of bringing VR to fans. However, they are definitely among the first to fully embrace it and have even gone so far as to start spreading the word about the technology to other area businesses. According to the source, team representatives also invited executives from the insurance company Lovitt & Touché to try it out - showing them videos of a game, a team shoot-around, and timeout performances. Those executives walked away impressed and thinking of ways to implement the technology at their own job sites.