For the first time, this season, college football games are being broadcast live nationwide in virtual reality thanks to 26-year-old McCombs School of Business alumnus Andre Lorenceau, BBA '13. A few days after the first VR game aired — Ohio State versus Oklahoma on Sept. 17 — Forbes announced that former NBA commissioner David Stern and several other backers had invested $5 million in Lorenceau's fledgling company LiveLike.
The Red River showdown between The University of Texas and The University of Oklahoma on Oct. 8 will be LiveLike/Fox Sports' next virtual reality football live stream. Viewers use Gear VR and Google Cardboard headsets — or a smartphone or iPad — to experience the game in VR.
Below is a simulation provided by FoxSports of what the VR experience of the game will be like:
To watch the game in VR download the FoxSports VR App. Links Below:
"The skyrocket to success has been nothing short of mind-blowing," says Lorenceau, recalling how it all started.
Originally from France, he wanted to come to the United States to make a mark in the business world. He read in the Princeton Review that McCombs was a top U.S. business school. “Texas was the big final frontier for me at that time. That’s what appealed to me on top of the great reviews that it has,” says Lorenceau. After graduation he stayed in Austin to open a brewery, but those plans quickly changed direction when he found new inspiration.
A big video game fan, Lorenceau was excited to try an advanced prototype of a virtual reality game for the first time at South by Southwest 2014. "I had this visceral stomach lurching," he says, remembering the epiphany that launched his career.
He recalls that as he pulled down the joystick, he felt the real sensation of centrifugal force: "My body was convinced I was going to take a 90-degree turn in a spaceship."
Immediately sensing the technology's commercial potential, Lorenceau realized that time was of the essence: "If I want to have a competitive edge in VR," he thought, "this is the moment."
He posted ads on VR forums that read, "I have a business degree. I’ll help anybody for free." This was music to the ears of a small but talented French-Korean animation VR storytelling studio called Innerspace, which took Lorenceau on as their business officer.
For three months he lived in a 6-by-6-foot apartment in South Korea, an hour from the office. He worked 12-hour days. "It was fantastic," he says.
Samsung discovered the team and included its program in its first Gear VR mobile headset. Within a year, he went from "the most un-hireable person" to owning LiveLike.
"In frontier technology, you know and extend the edge of knowledge in no time," he says. "You study it for six seconds, and you know more than 90 percent of the population."