OUR Goal

Our goal is to create a 360 immersive experience of what
it feels like to be at a sporting event on campus from a spectator’s point of view – this time, a basketball game.


Sports is an integral part of college life. Basketball is one of the most popular sports in the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign (UIUC). One of the largest venues between Chicago and St. Louis, the stylized State Farm Center, a large dome-shaped 15,500-seat indoor arena is owned by the University and located in Champaign, Illinois.

The arena hosts games for the Illinois Fighting Illini men’s basketball and women’s basketball teams and doubles as a performance and event center.

Sports journalism is an important part of the media industry, attracting lots of engagements. New forms of immersive technologies in the current millennium have pushed the boundaries of sports journalism. Virtual reality is changing the way athletes train. Jeremy Bailenson in his book, “Experience on demand” highlights how VR was used by professional sports teams to reinvent learning and training through immersive VR experiences.

Immersive journalism in the form of VR and 360 videos is becoming more conventional and is much touted for inducing greater “presence” than traditional media.(Sundar, Kang, & Oprean, 2017).

Further research has shown that 360 video journalism leads to a higher sense of presence and higher levels of enjoyment.(Van Damme et al., 2019). Sports is an exciting, emotional and entertaining activity. It would be interesting to study how VR increases enjoyment as compared with TV broadcasting.

Our project idea is to put students into the midst of a basketball game in a 360 experience; to give them the perception of feeling included into the virtual environment, the state of ‘natural’ interactions and of control perception. (Baía Reis & Coelho, 2018)

One of the challenges of virtual reality has been sickness (also known as cybersickness) which occurs when
a person’s exposure to a virtual environment causes symptoms that are like motion sickness symptoms. (Kiryu, 2007). These motion sickness symptoms are caused by a disconnect between what is being seen and what the rest of the body perceives. (Machover & Tice, 1997). To overcome this challenge, we minimized the movements in our 360 experience in order to rid our viewers of any case of motion sickness.

Baía Reis, A., & Coelho, A. F. V. C. C. (2018). Virtual Reality and Journalism: A gateway to conceptualizing immersive journalism. Digital Journalism, 6(8), 1090–1100. https://doi.org/10.1080/21670811.2018.1502046
Kiryu, T; So, RH (25 September 2007). “Sensation of presence and cybersickness in applications of virtual reality for advanced rehabilitation” (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2117018). Journal of Neuroengineering and Rehabilitation. 4: 34. doi:10.1186/1743-0003-4-34 (https://doi.org/10.1186%2F1743-0003-4-34). PMC 2117018 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2117018). PMID 17894857 (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/17894857).
Machover, C., & Tice, S. E. (1997). – Virtual Reality – Virtual Reality. IEEE Computer Graphics and Application, (January), 15–16.
Sundar, S. S., Kang, J., & Oprean, D. (2017). Being There in the Midst of the Story: How Immersive Journalism Affects Our Perceptions and Cognitions. Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, 20(11), 672–682. https://doi.org/10.1089/cyber.2017.0271
Van Damme, K., All, A., De Marez, L., & Van Leuven, S. (2019). 360° Video Journalism: Experimental Study on the Effect of Immersion on News Experience and Distant Suffering. Journalism Studies, 20(14), 2053–2076. https://doi.org/10.1080/1461670X.2018.1561208