Special to NYSportsJournalism.com
March 21, 2017: As the March Madness march to the NCAA championship continues, so does March Madness marketing.
With the Sweet 16 games coming this week, it is apropos that Intel has signed on to become the NCAA’s 16th Corporate Partner.
The NCAA also has three Corporate Champions: AT&T, Capital One and Coca-Cola.
The new alliance will see Intel True VR integrated throughout NCAA sports events via a multi-year agreement with Turner Sports, CBS Sports and NCAA.
Financial terms of the deal were not shared.
NCAA Corporate Partners also include Allstate, Amazon Echo, Buffalo Wild Wings, Buick (GM), Enterprise, Infiniti, Lowe’s, LG, Marriott, Nabisco, Northwest Mutual, Pizza Hut, Resse’s (Hershey), Unilever and Wendy’s.
According to Intel, VR coverage powered by Intel will be available for Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games for the first time, as well as for the Final Four and National Championship games in Phoenix.
"Intel’s virtual reality and 360 replay technology provide NCAA fans the most innovative viewing experience imaginable," Will Funk, evp-property marketing and corporate partnerships for Turner Sports, said in a statement. "Our partnership with Intel will provide an unrivaled opportunity for technological advancements across the college sports landscape."
The NCAA March Madness Live VR App will provide "access to the full tournament bracket with enhanced video highlights from each game, virtual stats, scoreboards and shot charts will be available for free to all users."
NCAA March Madness Live will also offer 360-degree highlights — from the games produced with Intel True VR — on the NCAA March Madness Facebook page.
In addition, people can access sports and entertainment content on the Intel True VR app in the Oculus store.
According to Intel, people will be able to choose from two VR premium ticket options:
• Gold: $2.99 per game or $7.99 for all six games. Fully-produced VR coverage incorporating multiple courtside cameras, sounds from inside the arena and dedicated game commentary.
• Silver: $1.99 per game. VR presentation via a single courtside camera presentation (180-degree live stream). Come with the same commentary featured on the CBS broadcast, including Jim Nantz, Grant Hill, Bill Raftery and Tracy Wolfson.
"Our partnership with Intel will provide an unrivaled opportunity for technological advancements across the college sports landscape."
According to James Carwana, GM for the Intel Sports Group, "Intel’s technology integrations during March Madness is one example of how Intel is changing the fan experience with Intel True VR and Intel 360 replay technology. Our goal in the Intel Sports Group is to deliver the best fan experience with our technology.
"By working with Turner, CBS and the NCAA, we are giving the fans the best seat in the house with Intel True VR technology," said Carwana.
Intel True VR will utilize camera pods that consist of 12 cameras per pod to "deliver a total of up to 48 cameras devoted to Sweet 16 and Elite 8 games and 84 cameras covering the Final Four National Semifinals and National Championship."
During CBS Sports and Turner Sports coverage of the Final Four and Final Championship games broadcast on CBS, Intel 360 Replay technology "will capture game footage by equipping the University of Phoenix Stadium with 28 5K ultra-high definition cameras coupled with Intel-based servers capable of processing up to 1 terabyte of data per 15- to 30-second clip," per Intel.
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