Apple’s VR Move May Emerge in Sports

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    • Apple has acquired virtual reality company NextVR.

Apple has acquired NextVR in a move that could aid its push into sports broadcasting. A purchase price wasn’t disclosed, but a previous report placed the value of the company at approximately $100 million.

NextVR supplies content to a variety of VR headsets and has deals with the NBA and other entertainment networks. Apple generally does not discuss the purpose or plans of its acquisitions, however it’s safe to assume this will assist its development of virtual and augmented reality software and content.

VR technologies could play a part in broadcast rights for sports in the future as consumer habits shift and leagues ponder how to reach fans who prefer to stay away from stadiums post-coronavirus. Apple has had ongoing conversations with the Pac-12 to acquire the conference’s exclusive broadcast rights when its current $250 million deal with Fox and ESPN ends in 2024.

Apple has nearly $200 billion in cash on hand that could help it secure broadcast rights as many major deals expire in the next several years. Such a move could help differentiate Apple+ from other streaming services, however the landscape is quickly changing and several other technology companies, including streamers Google, Facebook, and Amazon, also have large cash reserves.