Eon Sports VR, a Kansas City-based virtual reality firm, is making waves in the world of professional sports after tapping former New York Yankee Jason Giambi as an advisor.
Led by CEO Brendan Reilly, Eon Sports’ tech has been featured by the likes of ESPN, CBS Sports, Sports Illustrated, the MLB Network, Fox Business and more. The firm has already scored many large clients, including the Tampa Bay Rays, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the University of Kansas, Ole Miss University and many others.
Reilly said that it’s been thrilling to ride the wave of international exposure.
“It’s been downright awesome,” Reilly said of the media frenzy in recent weeks. “You go two years, yelling and screaming trying to get people to pay attention to what you’re doing. But that really happens when you start to create real value with your product. That drives the media, which drives more media, which drives sales.”
Founded in 2013, the firm developed a mobile, virtual reality platform to help football and baseball players prepare game plans for specific opponents without risk of injury. Eon Sports’ platform allows for a player or coach to plug their smartphone into a virtual reality headset to enter a customizable, in-game simulation.
Through its Giambi partnership, Eon Sports developed “Project OPS,” a 360-degree training simulator for baseball players. As part of the experience, Giambi virtually helps batters with pitch recognition and timing through 30 different pitching challenges. The simulator allows a player or coach to configure specific pitches, sequences, pitch locations, speed and other variables. The program costs $200.
“I can’t imagine what the game would have looked like if we had this technology when I broke into the league in the mid-90s,” Giambi said in a release. “Many kids live in cold-weather climates where they can’t get out on the diamond every day. This solution allows hitters around the world to practice real-life applications and situations wherever they are.”
Reilly said that it’s been a joy to work with Giambi. In addition to being helpful with the company’s tech, Reilly said that Giambi is a kind man.
“Hands down, he’s the nicest celebrity or professional athlete I’ve ever met in my life,” he said. “I grew up a big Mets fan so getting to know Jason was bittersweet, but then I met him and he’s such a great guy. His desire to help youth athletes has been really refreshing.”
Eon Sports is a part of a rapidly growing — and increasingly crowded — industry. Virtual reality is projected to be a $150 billion industry by 2020, according to Digi-Capital.
Reilly said that he expects the industry to continue its explosive growth and predicts that virtual reality will be a disruptive force throughout the world of business .
“No matter what industry you’re in, this is going to be transformative,” he said. “We’re just at the tip of the iceberg. We’re learning how people want to engage with the technology, and their answers will shape the next five years as virtual and augmented reality continue to get better. … We’re at the very early beginnings of a very exciting wave as this tech becomes more seamless and mobile.”
While now in the spotlight for its baseball tech, Eon Sports’ football platform has long been in use. It currently works with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, KU, UCLA, Western Michigan University and several others.
Although football players can choose between a variety of positions on the field, Reilly said many teams have thus far found its greatest use to be training a quarterback’s decision-making process.
To that end, Eon Sports teamed up with quarterback coach Steve Clarkson — who’s trained the likes of Ben Roethlisberger, Matt Leinart and Josh Freeman — to offer in-simulation coaching tips. The company also works with NFL Hall of Fame coach Mike Ditka and former NFL coach Terry Shea.
Check out Reilly’s appearance on ESPN below.