Verizon Media plans virtual reality sports betting app

Verizon Media said it’s working on a proof-of-concept virtual reality experience that will combine live sports and betting.

Verizon is partnering with Entain (formerly GVC Holdings), an international sports betting and gaming operator, to build the experience. The companies said the POC will allow consumers to participate in sports events, check data, socialize with friends and place bets on Entain platforms.

“To win in the future we need to understand where consumers will be in five, ten years’ time and work with other global businesses also investing in that,” said Entain CEO Shay Segev in a statement. “We envisage consumers meeting at a game with friends, who could in fact be elsewhere, using virtual reality headsets to watch, interact and share the experience together and, potentially, compete between themselves at half time or feel like they’re on the pitch with the players.”

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“This new alliance takes the collaboration between our two companies to a new level and will allow us both to maximize new opportunities across sports-betting, content and entertainment,” said Verizon Media CEO Guru Gowrappan in a statement. “Together, we are building the next-generation of content experiences for sports and gaming fans. Our world-first 5G-enabled production studios in LA and London, creative technology teams and Verizon Media’s Immersive platform, that enables extended reality (XR) content to be created and distributed across digital channels at scale, allow partners like Entain to bring next-level immersive and interactive experiences to their customers.”

Entain will also work with Verizon Media on additional immersive content concepts based around 5G, virtual reality and augmented reality. The companies said the goal is to create realistic experiences for sports fans, such as being in the stadium and participating in play.

The new collaborative partnership expands on the companies’ existing relationship with Yahoo Sports, part of Verizon Media, and BetMGM, a joint venture with MGM Resorts through which Entain operates in the United States. BetMGM is integrated throughout Yahoo Sports in the U.S., and in legal jurisdictions fans can place a bet with BetMGM without leaving the Yahoo Sports app.