Intel Sports

With innovative cameras, advanced algorithms, and high-performance computing, Intel is redefining how fans experience the world of sports. In 2018, we architected, designed, and developed two virtual reality products—NBA on TNT, and NFL Immersive VR—that put fans in the center of the action.

A rendering of the stadium with UI elements provides users an affordance to select an NFL match to watch.

New dimensions

Over the last few years, Intel invested heavily in immersive experiences; forging a path for volumetric content capture and delivering it on broadcast and in VR. They challenged us to reimagine the viewership experience by leveraging these new techniques, and to help them regain a focus on sports’ most important commodity: the fans.

A rendering of a figure standing in front of planes of space.

Curated for the super fan

We asked a million questions to fans about their ideal sports viewing experience, forming hypotheses and recommending a feature set for Intel that brought fans closer to every play. Our multidisciplinary team shortened the pipeline from ideation to application, rapidly building and breaking features and considering every detail. We rendered 3D environments and executed spatial design, UI and interaction design, motion, and sound design. It was an exercise in systems thinking that shifts the way fans participate in sports and helps immersive media move into the mainstream.

The design process was centered around prototyping early and often. Static comps just weren’t cutting it. Getting things moving and into headset early was critical to the team’s ability to experiment, test ideas, and communicate quickly and with confidence.”

Michael Novia, Associate Design Director at Instrument

A collection of environmental designs and UI in space

We operated as the first engineering group to deliver production applications built from Intel’s Unity SDK, authoring product requirements, defining critical integration points, concepting ideal user experiences, and asynchronously aligning five different engineering groups across multiple continents to deliver production tools for prime-time live events. We stress-tested use cases and outlined pain points to strengthen the codebase, and developed a set of reusable UI elements to create the interaction patterns that Intel has since applied to a range of different sports.

We provided producers with the tools to augment the fan experience through in-headset animations that promote an in-stadium feel, and we gave fans the opportunity to share their reactions during games, recreating the sense of community that distinguishes sports enthusiasm. This established a foundation both for other leagues and for future immersive experiences.

Various UI elements from across the UI of the NBA and NFL applications

From the moment we contacted Instrument to help us design, build and deliver new VR app experiences, they hit the ground running with professionalism and enthusiasm. There were a lot of unknowns, and the Instrument team worked across our engineering team and directly with the NFL and Turner (NBA) to ensure we were delivering to success. This was a technical feat that required accuracy to detail, that in turn allowed the planning, architecture, deployment of our product to go off without a hitch. These VR apps were complicated to say the least; they incorporated multiple cameras and viewing formats, complicated meta data sources, and live events with live updates. I was impressed with our collaborative working relationship, and I couldn’t recommend a better company to work with.”

Audrey C. Younkin, Intel Sports Group, Intel Corporation

An assortment of UI cards from the NBA and NFL applications

Engineering

Technical Strategy

Rapid Prototyping

Systems Architecture

API Design

Unity Development

Back-end Development

Deployment Architecture

Design

Creative Direction

3D Design & Rendering

Art Direction

Motion Design

UX / UI Design

Visual Design

Strategy

UX Strategy

Information Architecture

Content Strategy

User Research