College football teams have been using virtual reality as a training tool, putting players in an interactive 360-degree environment without having to be on the field. A handful of programs are using it for a new purpose: Recruiting.
By slipping on a headset, recruits can see what it’s like to be in the team huddle, listen to a coach’s speech, run down the tunnel before a game or tour the campus. It’s like taking an official visit without ever leaving their homes.
“Teams have all these hype videos that they push out. We are a hype video 2.0,” said Brendan Reilly, CEO of EON Sports VR, one of few virtual reality companies working with college football programs. “It’s the same exact content they’re capturing in those videos, but now it’s more compelling, more engaging and more interactive.”
The training aspect of virtual reality has become a big hit across college football, with teams using it to game plan against specific opponents, work on specific plays or defensive looks, give players mental reps even when they’re at home. Now teams are working with software companies to design virtual reality environments that showcase the best elements of the school and the football program.
The main goal is to use the virtual campus to entice recruits to visit the actual campus.One of the biggest hurdles coaches face in recruiting is trying to convince targeted players to take official visits to their schools. Get them on campus coaches believe they can close the deal by showing off the campus and explaining their philosophies in depth. Fail to get them to visit and more than likely the recruit will play somewhere else.
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