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Guber Bets On NextVR’s Future

Jason Barrett

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Warriors owner Joe Lacob gets most of the ink when it comes to telling the story behind his team’s amazing success. He’s the principal stakeholder. The guy who put the group together.

But Peter Guber — Lacob’s co-owner — is the mad scientist behind the scenes. He’s the Hollywood schmoozer who can mesmerize a room with his fast-talking shtick. The guy you want to have a martini with.

He also happens to be a guy who can see the future.

That much was evident Friday night at Oracle Arena, where an innovative group of tech types came out to show off what could be a true game-changer in broadcasting. A company called NextVR, based in Laguna Beach (Orange County), has come up with a broadcasting platform that allows you to put on a funky pair of goggles, plug in your smartphone and suddenly, magically, be standing courtside at an NBA game.

Players run past you as though you were at the scorer’s table, waiting to check in. You can follow the ball, or look up at the scoreboard. Shoot, you can watch the vendors walking up and down the aisles if you want. Bottom line is that the world of three-dimensional virtual reality is upon us. And it’s no surprise that Guber is one of the leading voices evangelizing the technology’s merits.

Keep innovating

“Innovation,” he says, in a gravelly voice that still has a hint of New York in it somewhere. “If you don’t have that, you have stagnation. Then eradication.”

It’s a classic Guber line, delivered with pure sincerity and belief. The former head of Sony Pictures made a fortune with movies like “Rain Man” and “Batman.” He knows how to pitch a product. But after all these years and all that money, he still gets excited by the latest shiny dime. He’s a true believer in change.

“If you can think of the conceit,” Guber says excitedly, urgently, “you are in charge. You are a participant instead of a passenger. This is a game-changer of location-based entertainment.”

It’s hard to argue.

NextVR is one of a handful of companies trying to capitalize on emerging virtual reality technology, both in the gaming and broadcasting space. This particular company has partnered its software and broadcast expertise with Facebook’s Oculus gaming technology, along with the muscle of Samsung’s hardware developers, to produce a device that’s truly remarkable.

While there are market ready versions of the NextVR available right now, the technology is still probably a year or two from mass-market adoption. But if these virtual reality companies can make the right deals with pro sports … and gaming companies … and retailers … the possibilities are truly endless. One NextVR executive estimated a market of 200,000 units. Within a few years, the company envisions a market of 200 million units.

The future of broadcasting?

I looked into a pair of virtual reality glasses at Friday night’s Warriors game and saw the future of broadcasting.

A software company called NextVR from Laguna Beach was on hand to demonstrate the latest technology used to broadcast something like an NBA game. And the Warriors-Mavericks game was a perfect test.

The device, made by Samsung in concert with Facebook’s Oculus and NextVR, works by snapping a Samsung 6 phone into the viewfinder of a device that looks like a pair of fancy ski goggles. The results are stunning. The game is shot using a 3-D courtside camera (shooting 60,000 frames per second) and beamed to the phone’s screen. Then the headgear translates it into a virtual reality, with very realistic depth.

“It’s intended to make you feel like you’re there,” said NextVR co-founder Dave Cole, who started the company in 2009 with business partner D.J. Roller.

Once the game action starts and you put the goggles on, the results are remarkable. You feel as if you’re standing courtside, and you can see the players running past you. You also have the ability to control the field of vision. You can look left, right, up or down. And you don’t have to follow the ball.

It’s like being there … virtually. And that’s the whole point.

NextVR and its partners have a version of this technology available for sale already, although on a limited basis. They hope to make it a mass-market product in the next year or two.

To read the full story visit the SF Chronicle where it was originally published

Sports Radio News

Craig Carton: Adam Schefter Was Used By the Broncos

“Based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team.”

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Tuesday was a frenzy for NFL insiders as the Denver Broncos and Houston Texans nearly simultaneously announced the hiring of new head coaches, and WFAN host Craig Carton believes one NFL insider was used.

Reporting from NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport at 4:44 PM ET claimed the Broncos tried to hire DeMeco Ryans — who was hired by the Texans — at the last minute, but was rebuffed, and Denver hired Sean Payton instead.

ESPN’s Adam Schefter — in no uncertain terms — refuted the validity of that report at 4:55 PM ET.

Carton believes Schefter was used by the franchise to help with damage control.

“So here’s the deal: Adam Schefter — many, many years ago — used to write for The Denver Post, and he covered the Denver Broncos,” Carton said. “He is clearly — to his credit – getting his information directly from the Denver Broncos who figure that that story from Ian Rapoport — and it is — is somewhat embarrassing…the fact that it’s out there is a bad look.

“So they go to Schefter who, along with Rapoport — the two voices of record as insiders — and they say ‘Nonsense. Put out there that that’s nonsense’. Rapoport’s getting his information DeMeco or his agent, saying “Naw, naw, no. He had choices. He could have gone to Houston, he could have gone to Denver. Obviously, the Texans sweetened the deal’.”

“Schefter’s getting his info from the Broncos, who are doing damage control,” co-host Evan Roberts concurred.

“Schefter’s great at what he does, I’m not saying that he’s not,” Carton continued. “But based on other stories that have come out — that we now know as a fact — he’s willing to be a mouthpiece for a team — namely Washington — and again, he’s great at what he does. I wanna be clear at how I state this, he’s great at what he does, but it’s obvious that the Broncos are trying to spin this, and they’re using Schefter to spin it.”

Roberts added that the situation was similar to that of NBA Insiders Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania, where Wojnarowski “speaks for front offices, where Shams gets his info from players and agents”.

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Sports Radio News

K&C Masterpiece: Cowboys Could Add 30 Million More Viewers To Super Bowl

“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings.”

Jordan Bondurant

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The matchup in this year’s Super Bowl is set, and the game will undoubtedly be the most-viewed program on TV this year. But if the Dallas Cowboys were taking part in the game, it’s safe to say the ratings would be astronomical.

The Cowboys divisional playoff game against San Francisco drew 45.7 million viewers. It was the second-most watched divisional round contest on record.

The NFC championship between San Francisco and Philadelphia drew 47.5 million.

On 105.3 The Fan in Dallas, K&C Masterpiece host Kevin Hageland said had the Cowboys made it to Philly, the viewership would’ve been even better.

“I know the game sucked, but that just shows you, because the Cowboys were like almost 8 million above every other divisional game, this could’ve gotten to 58 (million),” Hageland said.

Kevin added that if Dallas had gone all the way, the audience tuning in would’ve easily eclipsed some of the highest-rated programs of all-time.

“The Cowboys in the Super Bowl against the Chiefs would’ve shattered all viewership ratings,” he said. “Even with the new system and so many people streaming and everything like that.”

Usually the Super Bowl averages around 100 million viewers. Hageland said a Cowboys Super Bowl appearance in this day and age would’ve set the new top ratings mark for years to come.

“My estimation would be you would add approximately an extra 30 million people,” he said.

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Sports Radio News

Patrick McCarthy To Join Mets Radio Crew

“Patrick, the son of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, had been calling games for Philly’s Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley.”

Jordan Bondurant

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Cheryl Pursell

The New York Mets have called on Patrick McCarthy to join the team’s radio broadcasts this season.

According to Andrew Marchand of the New York Post, McCarthy will host pregame and postgame coverage on WCBS and fill in for Howie Rose when he takes time off.

Patrick, the son of Phillies broadcaster Tom McCarthy, had been calling games for Philly’s Triple-A team in Lehigh Valley.

Keith Raad will be added to the booth for Mets games on the radio this season as well.

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