The Sydney Sixers innovative Virtual Reality campaign for the Big Bash League

The Sydney Sixers were one of the first sporting teams in Australia to tap into Virtual Reality to increase fan engagement, launching their 360 Degree Match Day Experience last season.  After posting their 360 videos on Facebook, shortly after the social network enabled 360 video playing, they saw a huge response from fans with over 10,000 views in the first 24 hours.

For the sixth season of the Big Bash League the Sydney Sixers have taken it a step further developing a Virtual Reality campaign that lets fans experience the adrenalin of facing a fast bowl from Australian and Sydney Sixers Fast Bowler Josh Hazlewood or Sydney Sixers WBBL Captain Ellyse Perry.

As part of the campaign, Sydney Sixers partner BMW Sydney, used new VR Station technology from Catalyst VR, to create an interactive experience for Fans at the Sydney Cricket Ground.  Big Bash Fans could use the latest VR headsets to face a bowl from either Josh or Ellyse. The VR Station also included live screens which showed other fans exactly what participants were viewing. The VR Station was hugely popular and with the Sydney Sixers drawing record crowds again for BBL06 thousands of fans participated.

Produced and animated by Catalyst VR, the Virtual Reality content was filmed at the SCG using the latest high definition 360 video technology, camera rigs and VR animation to allow viewers to appreciate the speed and accuracy of Josh and Ellyse, as well as the skill and technique of the batters that face them.

“We wanted to give viewers the exact perspective that a Batter would have as they face a fast bowl.  With the cricket balls travelling at over 100km/h we had to create our own camera rigs to capture the footage and new CGI techniques to animate the VR environment” Gabriel Howard, Head of Production, Catalyst VR said.

View Josh Hazlewood’s 360 video here

For many fans it was the first time they had experienced Virtual Reality. Hannah Yates from Bondi responded “Wow that was cool, it was like I was the batter – I tried to follow the ball but it was moving so fast. It will definitely change the way I watch cricket now I know how fast the ball is moving.”

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