Seattle Sounders FC today announced that the club is debuting its first virtual reality (VR) experience this Sunday prior to the team's home-opener against New York Red Bulls (4:00 p.m. PT / FS1, KIRO Radio 97.3 FM, El Rey 1360 AM). The immersive, 360-degree VR experience is available for viewing beginning at 2:30 p.m. PT in the club's entertainment venue, The NINETY (406 Occidental Avenue S., Seattle, WA 98104). The VR video is currently available for viewing on the club's Facebook and YouTube channels.
Produced in partnership with Seattle software startup Pixvana and modern consultancy Intentional Futures, the virtual reality experience captures the excitement of Sounders FC matchday, as well as the team's historic turnaround and postseason run that eventually saw the team win its first league title.
"Virtual reality has opened up an entirely new way to experience sports and we're thrilled to be able to share this unique view of the historic 2016 season," said Sounders FC Chief Operating Officer Bart Wiley. "We have enjoyed working with Pixvana and Intentional Futures in the continuing pursuit of providing our fans with some of the most memorable matchday experiences in the league."
Incorporating footage from five games, the VR experience boasts never-before-captured, behind-the-scenes moments both from the field and in the stands - as well as from the stage of the club's MLS Cup Champions March and Rally at Seattle Center. Fans can view the experience in The NINETY on an HTC Vive VR headset via Pixvana's SPIN Player, in incredibly clear 8K resolution.
"We're proud to work with the Sounders and Intentional Futures to deliver the most immersive and most high resolution soccer content that's been captured to date," shared Aaron Rhodes, Executive Producer, Pixvana. "A compilation of five games, including the historic MLS Cup win, this VR experience gives viewers incredible access to both the fan experience and the on-field action. Thanks to Intentional Futures, we were also able to incorporate awesome graphics into the footage to create a fun Jumbotron effect throughout."
"Storytelling in a VR environment can be a challenge, since viewers can look anywhere, at any time," said Stephen Jablonsky, Creative Director of Intentional Futures. "We were excited to work with Pixvana and apply an entirely new visual strategy to accommodate a viewer's attention so they don't miss any of the action. You'll be part of Sounders FC's historic surge, standing inside the huddle before the game, and in the coach's spot right on the field."
The VR experience is available to fans all season prior to every Sounders FC home match as part of The NINETY's matchday activities. This Sunday, March 19, as the Rave Green kick off their home slate marks the first time that fans can take part in the VR experience.
After initially increasing capacity for the March 19 match, Sounders FC is expecting a crowd well in excess of 40,000 fans this Sunday, pacing for a season-opening attendance record at CenturyLink Field. Tickets for the home-opener remain available for fans interested in enjoying the Championship Celebration elements. Single-match tickets are available for all 17 of the team's MLS home contests and the recently-announced friendlies against both Mexican side Club Necaxa and Bundesliga club Eintracht Frankfurt. Seating for all games is subject to availability at time of purchase. Single-match tickets can be purchased via the following link: SoundersFC.com/Tickets/Single-Match-Tickets.
To save even more on single games, fans can pick a minimum of nine matches of their choice to receive further discounts over box office prices with a new Sounders FC Flex Plan. Fans can visit Soundersfc.com/Tickets/Partial-Plans for more information.
2017 Season Ticket Memberships, including new seat options in the upper bowl, are still available by calling 877-MLS-GOAL or emailing Sales@SoundersFC.com. Complete information on all Sounders FC ticket packages can be found at SoundersFC.com/Tickets.
2017 marks the ninth season in Sounders FC history and the club looks to defend its status as the reigning MLS Cup champion following its first MLS title in December, adding the Cup to a trophy case that already contains four Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup titles and the 2014 Supporters' Shield. For the ninth-consecutive season, Sounders FC is set to play all regular season home matches on the Xbox Pitch at CenturyLink Field, a venue that has lead the league in average attendance since the club's inception and currently has Sounders FC positioned with the second-highest attendance mark in the Americas.