Evercore: Did Apple buy NextVR for immersive live sports? (video)

The deal is “somewhat surprising” says analyst Amit Daryanani, given Apple’s oft-stated interest in augmented, not virtual, reality.

From a note to clients that landed on my desktop Thursday evening:

All You Need to Know: Apple acquired NextVR, a company that specializes in streaming live sports/events to VR headsets. Apple reportedly spent around $100M on the acquisition.

The deal is somewhat surprising as we think Apple remains focused on AR vs. VR; however, the real asset here may be the live sports streaming technology. As consumers increasingly “cut the cord” it seems logical that a major streaming service would make a push to acquire live sports. Notably, Amazon has a deal to stream Thursday night football through 2022. The streaming world is becoming oversaturated with high-end scripted content, so live sports streaming could become a key differentiator. Amazon reportedly paid around $70M for Thursday Night Football rights in 2018, which would be about half of what Apple spent to produce a single season of “See”. NextVR’s most notable partnership was with the NBA, so its possible Apple could pursue NBA live streaming rights.

Net/net: We think the deal could signal a push into live sports streaming, which would help differentiate the Apple TV+ platform.

Maintains Outperform rating and $330 price target.

Cue the NextVR sample:

My take: Engineers who can do VR can’t do AR?

5 Comments

  1. Steven Philips said:
    MY take: “Focused on…” does not mean you leave chips on the table.
    Now if somehow they can contract with Formula 1…!!! 🙂

    1
    May 14, 2020
  2. Gregg Thurman said:
    Awesome sample preview, but it looked to me to be more 3D than virtual.

    Now if Apple could do that with Kansas basketball I’d buy a bigger TV (presently have a 50”). Hell, I’d go so far as to add a couple more HomePods.

    0
    May 15, 2020
  3. Bart Yee said:
    Anything that could provide an immersive experience in any sport from many different angles would be a huge plus for Apple, Apple TV+, Arcade, or an as yet unannounced VR / AR service.
    I would love a sports car or F1 / Indy Car type experience where you could follow from cockpit, above roof / roll bar, rear wing, nose cone or even off the suspension looking forward and/or backwards at other cars or the driver. Then imagine that footage is then isolated, broken down and used to create a real time arcade driving experience, doing laps like qualifying or in a race, with other drivers and cars. As good as animation and CGI is, actual footage of racing gives another perspective.
    Same could be done for production cars being run on famous tracks like Nurburgring, Le Mans, Daytona, Laguna Secs, etc.

    0
    May 15, 2020
  4. Fred Stein said:
    Yes agree with all.

    3D effects on flat screens makes the most sense. Flat screens are everywhere, from our wrists to seemingly every public venue. Apple alone already has 1.5B flat screens in its IB.

    Once again, we’re likely to see Apple do it right, as in 3D effects vs. full VR. In classic fashion the early movers were not more innovative, they just jumped in early per the Gartner ‘hype cycle’ model, while Apple waited till they could get it right.

    0
    May 15, 2020
  5. Jerry Doyle said:
    This is another example of Apple evolving its service offerings in a continuing variety of choices designed to increase revenues. Apple in 5-10 years is going to become one of the more competitive platforms on the media landscape.

    0
    May 15, 2020

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