If you follow Major League Soccer (MLS), or you just live in Toronto… you’ll have probably heard by now that Toronto FC has marked their place as being the only team in MLS history to win a domestic treble. After losing in the MLS cup final to Seattle last December, they marched on in 2017 to win the Canadian Championship in June, the Supporters Shield in October, and finally the MLS Cup yesterday night.
As sports fans we all dream of being “there” during that game, that goal, that celebration – the ones we’ll always remember. If you’re a Toronto FC fan, that dream can now be a reality (or the closest thing to it). As virtual reality is changing the way we use technology, people now have the opportunity to engage themselves immersive experiences. New innovations in VR can now provide fans with the “once in a lifetime” opportunity of getting up close and personal with their favourite teams in huge moments.
During the MLS Cup final, BELL/TSN placed 360 VR cameras at different vantage points across the stadium, and have since posted videos on Youtube of the games biggest moments, all of which can be viewed with a VR headset.
If you’re lucky enough to have a VR headset, use these links to experience the madness:
If you’re not familiar with virtual reality, here’s a simple, brief summary. When putting on a VR headset, you are completely immersed in another location, driven by 360 degree vision and sound. You are able to look left, right, up, down, and everywhere else around you. Take a quick moment and look all around at your current surroundings, now imagine being instantly dropped anywhere in the world and being able to do the same thing. It’s as real as it gets. If you haven’t tried it, you truly won’t understand until you experience it for yourself. And trust me, you should.
After viewing all the BELL/TSN VR experience videos, my personal favourite was Jozy Altidore’s goal. I found myself rewinding and replaying the video clip, over and over again, each time looking somewhere else to witness the different reactions around me. The fans exploding into pandemonium jumping up and down, lighting flares and throwing drinks in the air, the security guards who are normally calm and collected were running, screaming and celebrating, Jozy Altidore scoring, falling, and running right past me in disbelief as he celebrated his go-ahead goal, the Seattle Sounders goalie, kicking the ball in frustration and yelling… I couldn’t get enough. I felt like I was there, I felt like I was feeling all the same emotions as when I watched it in real time on my TV, but this time it was better. As a fan, when else would you get to see all those things from a vantage point right behind the net? Almost never. The only negative was the quality wasn’t that great, but it didn’t even matter. What matters in virtual reality is how it makes you feel, and as a TFC fan the feeling didn’t get much better than this.
With new innovations in virtual reality and technology, developers are creating and providing new experiences for viewers that they’ve never previously had access to. With limitless possibilities and only growth ahead, how can you not be excited for the potential that virtual reality holds and what it has in store for us in the future? As an industry that’s been trying to break out since 1970’s, there’s a buzz in the air that this time, they’re finally getting it right.