A Kansas City-based virtual reality company hopes some marquee partnerships will plug it into a market projected to reach $150 billion in five years.
Founded in 2013, Eon Sports VR recently landed the University of Kansas football team as a client for its mobile virtual reality platform to help players train without the risk of injury. Eon Sports CEO Brendan Reilly said his company’s software will allow Kansas coaches to input their own and opposing teams’ playbooks into the SIDEKIQ simulator to prep for games.
“(KU head football coach David) Beaty has been awesome, and really embraces new technology for new ways to train,” Reilly said. “I’ve been lucky enough to meet with NFL coaches, college coaches and elite guys, and when we present them with this, suddenly everyone turns into little kids. This technology is the great equalizer — it’s fun.”
Beaty said that the new technology should offer his players an edge when preparing for games.
“We are always looking to push boundaries and be innovative in how we train our athletes’ bodies and minds,” Beaty said in a release. “This is a huge competitive advantage and allows us to prepare our players to excel at the collegiate level and beyond.”
Eon Sports’ platform allows for a player or coach to affix their smartphone onto a virtual reality headset to enter a customizable, in-game simulation. Although players can choose between a variety of positions on the field, many teams seem to have found greatest use thus far with training quarterbacks’ decision making.
To that end, Eon Sports teamed up with quarterbacks coach Steve Clarkson — who’s trained the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and Josh Freeman — to offer in-simulation coaching tips. The technology also has received endorsements from NFL Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka and former NFL coach Terry Shea.
“As a quarterback, you’ve got about 20 different decisions to make, and you’ve got about a second-and-a-half to decide,” Reilly said. “This democratizes everyone’s access to NFL-level coaching.”
Eon Sports also works with football teams at UCLA, Western Michigan University and several high schools throughout the United States. Reilly said already that many other teams have expressed interest, confirming for him that the virtual reality market is indeed growing. Virtual Reality is projected to be a $150 Billion industry by 2020 according to Digi-Capital.
Many large technology companies, including Sony, Samsung, Google and others, have begun offering virtual reality products to consumers and businesses. That’s part of the reason why Reilly — who’s now actively looking for investors — hopes to quickly scale his company with the help of additional capital.
“Virtual reality is incredibly hot right now,” Reilly said. “The response we’ve got from (investors) has been extremely positive. … A year ago, the question was ‘Is this technology for real? Is it a fad?’ And when you see Google, Facebook, Samsung and Apple invest more and more, and hiring virtual reality experts, you can say that in the next 5 to 10 years, this is here to stay.”
Eon Sports’ platform will soon be available on the Google Play and Apple App stores for downloads. For more information on its technology, visit its website.