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Today, Sansar announced plans to take esports to a new virtual level by creating new strategic partnerships with multiple professional teams from the Overwatch League including the Houston Outlaws and the San Francisco Shock. Sansar will bring Virtual Reality, not as a novelty but as an everyday asset to the organizations, teams, and fans of both the Shock and the Outlwas. This debut by Sansar will be a first-of-its-kind collaboration that looks past the traditional two-dimensional chat and streaming platforms, and will give gamers a bigger lense to connect and communicate. This technology will enable fans to interact one-on-one with popular players and personalities, stream matches in virtual watchspaces created by their favorite teams, and show their support through exclusive branded merchandise.

From the release:

Sansar offers esports fans an immersive, interactive viewing experience on par with a real-life event – complete with virtual photo opps, meet-and-greets, and exclusive giveaways. Fans can use Sansar on both PC and VR to connect in their team’s branded virtual watch space, tune into live stream matches, and buy custom skins and merch. Other features coming soon include real-time stats integration, in-match player audio sharing, and more.

“We’ve seen a real need in the esports market for a deeper, more engaging fan experience – something that can go beyond normal spectatorship to really draw people in,” said Ebbe Altberg, CEO at Linden Lab. “We feel social VR is perfectly poised to meet this need, and we’re thrilled to find forward-thinking esports partners that feel the same – trailblazing teams that recognize VR’s potential and are willing to evolve and innovate to deliver world-class experiences. Their investments in Sansar are investments in their communities.”

The Hideout: A brand new clubhouse for Houston Outlaws fans.

The Houston Outlaws know a thing or two about investing in community. Team owners Infinite Esports and Entertainment have worked hard to elevate Texas’s profile as an esports destination – recently partnering with the city of Arlington on a multimillion dollar esports venue, and completing the first-ever esports player signing tour – and they continue their innovative streak in collaborating with Sansar on a one-of-a-kind fan experience: the Hideout, the first-ever virtual clubhouse for esports, available exclusively in Sansar. The team plans to unveil the clubhouse at an IRL event: the Outlaws 2018 Block Party, May 18-19 at Coral Sword. Fans unable to attend the block party can access the virtual space starting at 4 PM PT/6 PM CT on May 18, where they can tune in for a live stream of the event, along with other exclusive interactive events, trivia, fan giveaways, and more. To join, Outlaws fans should download and install Sansar and look out for a link to the Hideout on both Sansar’s events page and the Outlaws’ community channels.

“We have a mantra here – we must focus on things that haven’t been done before in esports especially in the technology space and fan experiences,” said Simon Bennett, VP of Marketing at Infinite Esports & Entertainment. “We are beyond excited to be able to provide a club house that Outlaws fans can access and be a part of the watch party community from anywhere in the world. We hear calls for watch parties from China, Australia, UK and all over the world, and working with the insanely talented team at Sansar to make this a reality (virtually) has been a dream come true for us all. We can’t wait to show the community their virtual home away from home.”

The SF Shock Epicenter: The first-ever VR Arena for esports.

The San Francisco Shock has a similar history of prioritizing community and investing in innovation. The team continues to find ways to expand its footprint and give back to the Bay Area, with team owners NRG Esports recently announcing a groundbreaking partnership with the University of California, Berkeley, to develop a new esports community center, and the Shock’s partnership with Sansar only carries this commitment forward with The SF Shock Epicenter: the first-ever virtual arena for esports, available exclusively in Sansar. The team plans to unveil the space in VR and IRL simultaneously at their 2018 Shock Watch Party Event – Friday, May 25th, at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View, California. Fans unable to attend can visit the arena in Sansar starting from 6 PM PT, where they can enjoy exclusive virtual content, interactive events, giveaways, and more. To join, they’ll need to download and install Sansar, and keep an eye out for an official link to the Epicenter on Sansar’s website and the Shock’s community channels.

“We’re always trying to make the NRG/Shock fan experience as unique and exciting as possible, and embarking on this project with Sansar is helping us achieve exactly that,” said Andy Miller, owner and CEO of NRG Esports and the San Francisco Shock. “Fans now have a new cutting edge shared space to support the team, regardless of where they live. Our community is amazing and I can’t wait to see what the community ends up doing with it!”

“We see these spaces and partnerships as the first ripples in a bigger wave,” concluded Altberg. “Gamers today need more than just 2D chat to connect and communicate, and we’re thrilled that Sansar can serve as their go-to esports destination – a place where players can interact more closely and directly with fans from around the world.”

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