Through a dedicated 600Mbps ‘pipe’, video feeds from camera rigs of up to five cameras were transported and stitched into a single 360-degree video in real time and distributed to viewers with near indiscernible latency. BroadcastPro ME gets a ringside view of VR history on March 29 in Al Ain, scripted by the UAE Pro League Committee, Mediapro and Etisalat.

As Mourad Batna, a striker for Abu Dhabi’s Al Wahda club, beat five Dubai’s Al Wasl defenders and headed the winning goal past keeper Humaid Abdulla Ali, the 180-degree VR camera behind the goal captured the ball hurtling into the back of the net. Viewers of the world’s first live VR telecast of a football league competition to a mass audience, could then shift the view to midfield, as a 360-degree camera captured the celebrations on the Al Wahda players’ bench.

Along with a free mobile app, this priceless moment of audience engagement cost these viewers anywhere between $5 and $100 for suitable VR gear. VR is not new, but a live VR telecast of a football match is.

And distribution on a mass scale is most definitely historic. The world’s first live VR telecast on a continous, weekly basis of a football competition, which premiered at the final of the UAE Arabian Gulf Cup at Hazza bin Zayed Stadium in Al Ain, was achieved by Spanish broadcaster and producer Mediapro, UAE telco Etisalat and, most importantly, the UAE Pro League Committee (PLC), which oversees the football competitions in the UAE.

On March 29, 2018, viewers who had downloaded Etisalat’s AGL VR Seat Experience app for both Android and IOS platforms found themselves on virtual VIP seats soaking in the excitement of the match even though they were in actual fact seated in their homes anywhere in the world. This was not a project for the faint-hearted. Read more from…

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