Intel Will Sponsor the Olympics to Showcase Virtual Reality Tech

Intel Will Sponsor the Olympics to Showcase Virtual Reality Tech

Intel will sponsor the Olympics through 2024 in the company’s latest bid to show off its technology through high-profile sports events, according to Bloomberg.

The chipmaker said it will partner with the International Olympic Committee to bring Intel’s technology, such as virtual reality, 360-degree video, artificial intelligence and drones, to enhance the Olympic Games.

Intel is signing on at a time when global interest in the Olympics is waning. Television ratings have fallen and cities have dropped out of the running to host the games as costs spiral. Yet for Intel, the sponsorship is part of a broad push into sports after it launched a group to explore such deals last fall, seeking to highlight initiatives other than its main computer processor business.

Bringing on a technology sponsor like Intel also plays into the IOC’s strategy to reach a younger demographic to help stem slumping viewership. “There are many young people that are living a digital life,” said Thomas Bach, president of the International Olympic Committee, at a presentation in New York. “So we have to go where they are in the digital world, in their virtual reality.”

The first Olympic Games involving the Intel sponsorship will be in Pyeongchang, South Korea, in 2018 when Intel will provide real-time virtual reality viewing of the Winter Olympic Games. Intel joins a crowded stable of Olympic sponsors from the tech world. Samsung is the official wireless device partner of the IOC, while Panasonic is the official television and video partner. Alibaba and General Electric also provide tech services to the IOC.

Earlier Intel announced a three-year deal with Major League Baseball to use its True VR technology to broadcast live games and highlights. During select games, fans have the option of choosing between four different VR angles, plus access to stats, player data and out-of-town scores, in a marriage of the broadcast and the second screen. That MLB deal was the latest in recent push from Intel to put its tech directly into the hands, and eyes, of sports fans across the country.

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