Mark Cuban Rumors
Cuban’s series of investments over the last handful of years prove he’s bullish on VR, but he immediately pumps the brakes when asked if the immersive experience can put fans in his seat, or even impact ticket sales. “Not even a little bit. It has zero chance of impacting our business. The whole ‘front-row experience’ doesn’t work, and won’t.” Cuban told [a]listdaily in an exclusive interview. “I would rather be in the top row at a game than watching a live VR stream, and I don’t see that changing in many, many years.”
The possibility of the NBA’s and TNT’s partnership with NextVR—the tech company that captured and delivered the Hornets-Warriors game—changing the future of sports broadcasts in a significant fashion is still “a few years away,” Cuban says. The billionaire Shark Tank star says he’s most interested in non-entertainment and non-live VR content like medical, business and vertical applications, and is captivated by live 2D video integrated with complementary content. He brings up watching a Mavericks game while being able to turn to one side for fantasy stats, and to the other for live stats as an example. Cuban’s quick to encourage that the current VR flaws offer entrepreneurs an opportunity to master the media through innovation by creating unique experiences around such mediums as live 2D and 360-degree, on-demand video.
“I think the first step is to adapt existing steaming apps to work in [Samsung] Gear VR goggles,” Cuban says. “Watching your stream on what looks like a huge movie theater screen is the best first step. That will get people an incentive to experiment with basic VR. Watching Netflix on Gear VR is a great experience that all streamers should copy.” Cuban’s vested interests in VR dates back to the iPad photo app Condition One of which he invested $500,000 in. In 2014, he invested $3 million in seed funding for Virtuix Omni. By CES in Las Vegas this year, the gaming treadmill was hosting a VR eSports tournament and attracting every eyeball on the convention floor.
Not everyone thought Ballmer was crazy to write that big check. “He got a bargain,” says Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, the first majority NBA owner who made his fortune in the dotcom boom. (Microsoft’s Paul Allen bought the Portland Trailblazers in 1988.) When Cuban bought the downtrodden Mavericks in 2000 for $285 million, he was merely a speculator, but he became a go-to resource for other owners who were looking toward the future. “The league was always open-minded toward tech but hadn’t really implemented much,” Cuban says. “I got all the questions.”
In the decade and a half after Cuban entered the league, the Mavericks have gone from one of the worst franchises in the NBA to a top team, winning its first-ever title in 2011. “I’ve invested in countless tech companies that impact the Mavs,” Cuban says. He ticks them off: Synergy Sports, a web-based analytics platform; Catapult, an Australian company that makes motion-tracking devices for elite athletes; and Axon Sports, a cognitive training tool. “I try to leverage my tech background to gain any advantage we can.”
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Mark Cuban is picking the Oklahoma City Thunder to win the NBA’s biggest prize. The owner of the Dallas Mavericks gave a wide-ranging interview for NBC’s “Meet The Press,” and host Chuck Todd ended the sit-down by asking Cuban if he was picking Cleveland, Golden State or Oklahoma City to win the NBA title.