(Photo courtesy of Status Pro/Blachwood LLC: Marcell Pickens, Jr.)
Lamar Jackson is expanding what players can do in a football helmet: The QB led the Baltimore Ravens to become one of the most prolific offenses in the league, and picked up MVP honors in his second year as a starter.
With a new partnership, he’s pushing boundaries in another kind of headgear, as well.
Jackson is teaming with sports tech and entertainment company Status Pro on a collection of VR products, including a game that can be played at home, arcade games and a live activation.
It’s called the Lamar Jackson Experience, and the company said it marks Jackson’s first endorsement deal. He has also been an “integral part of the development, strategic planning and promotion of these experiences,” the company said.
“Like most people from my generation I am a huge gamer, and the first time I demo’d the Status Pro experience I was blown away by how realistic and fun it was,” Jackson said in a statement. “Ever since I was a kid, I always wanted to play in the NFL and now that I do, I am excited about sharing my experience with fans and especially kids through this VR gaming platform.”
The platform is designed to provide firsthand experience of what it’s like to compete on the gridiron. Using player tracking data, it recreates game scenarios. Further details will be released in the comings weeks, the company said. Whether the game is released in time to become part of the quarantine routine or not, Troy Jones, president of Status Pro, called it “the perfect time for VR to show value across industries.”
“We are extremely excited about the opportunity to not only show the value in virtual training and having players simulate reps from home, but also creating interactive football experiences for fans that bring them closer to their favorite athletes and teams,” Jones said. “We believe this can be a new form of engagement for fans and the start of mass adoption of VR across all sports.”
Status Pro was formerly known as ByteCubed Labs, which had roots in an experiential training platform for NFL players that was used by the Ravens. The company, which is based in L.A. and has several employees including Jones in the Baltimore-D.C. area, also has a training product for professional, collegiate and amateur athletes. It’s device-agnostic, but is building on widely known platforms such as Oculus and PSVR.
“Our VR training and gaming experiences are built in the same game engine,” Jones said. “This gives us the ability to leverage the technology we have built to help players simulate reps, gamify them, and present them to fans in a way that is realistic to the athlete but fun to the consumer. Our products are part of an ecosystem that go hand in hand.”
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