The recent launch of Apple’s highly anticipated Vision Pro headset has ignited a wave of enthusiasm and speculation within the tech and sports industries. Priced at $3,500, this ingenious augmented reality (AR) device vows to revolutionize the way sports fans engage with their favorite teams and events. Amidst the buzz surrounding its release, the pressing question pops up: What exactly does the Vision Pro offer, and how will it impact the world of professional sports?
With its advanced AR technology, the Vision Pro flaunts an “infinite canvas” – a three-dimensional floating display that users can control with their eyes, hands, or voice commands. Major sports leagues such as the NBA, MLB, and PGA Tour have wasted no time in creating apps for the Vision Pro, aiming to utilize its immersive capabilities. Apple is positioning the Vision Pro as a game-changer for sports fans, presenting the “best seat in the house” for live events.
Although initial versions of these apps may mirror traditional viewing experiences, efforts are underway to generate fully immersive experiences that imitate the sensation of being present at live events. For instance, the PGA Tour’s app aims to transport users to the tee boxes and greens of each hole during tournaments, enabling them to watch players and track their shots in real-time.
Scott Gutterman, the PGA Tour’s senior vice president of digital operations, emphasizes the significance of this technological leap, stating, “Our goals are to bring our players and events to people no matter where they want to consume our events and how they want to consume it.”
Apple’s foray into AR technology has instigated new energy into the AR/VR landscape, which has long been viewed as a niche market. Despite its high price tag, the Vision Pro has gathered positive reviews, signaling a potential shift in the accessibility and adoption of AR devices.
NBA Commissioner Adam Silver’s recent meeting with Apple CEO Tim Cook highlights the significance of this partnership, with Silver affirming, “This, to me, will be how people over time experience sports through the media.”
Noah Garden, MLB’s deputy commissioner of business and media, underscores the significance of the Vision Pro in reshaping the sports landscape. “Apple Vision Pro provides us an entirely new way to present the national pastime to fans,” he states.
Apple’s evolving interest in sports is evident, with latest endeavors such as adding Major League Soccer’s “Season Pass” to its streaming platform and showing interest in obtaining the rights to Formula 1 races. As Proulx says, “Live sports is one of the last remaining legacy TV programming genres that still drives ratings.”