Provided everything is built in time, the 2016 Summer Olympics will take place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, starting August 5. If you can't afford to schlep down to Rio to watch the games in person, NBC Olympics and Samsung are teaming up to bring you the next best thing -- a virtual front row seat to all the triumphs and near misses via the Gear VR.
This will be the first time the Olympics will be broadcast in virtual reality, bring a centuries-old event firmly into the 21st century.
An exclusive to owners of authenticated Gear VR-compatible smartphones, NBC Olympics will be providing an incredible 85 hours of footage via NBC's Sports app. The action will include both the opening and closing ceremonies, men's basketball, fencing, track and field and gymnastics -- so we can see Simone Biles and Gabby Douglas duke it out for the gold (USA! USA!). In addition to the semifinals and finals, you'll also get a few highlight packages to sweeten the deal.
Virtual reality is quickly becoming an accepted venue to broadcast sports. Samsung has already partnered with the NCAA and NBA to give sports fans unprecedented access to events they wouldn't normally have the ability to attend, including the NBA All-Star Game and March Madness. All you need to be transported to a courtside seat is the right phone and the headset.
However, with the continued success of VR sporting events, it's only a matter of time before content providers start charging for the pleasure. Especially once people start realizing that they don't have to pay an arm and a leg to get up close and personal with the action. So enjoy your free content, but don't be surprised in the next few months when NBC and other providers start charging pay-per-view-style.