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Volume 22 No. 7
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Hollywood’s Mandt Bros. forms unit to target virtual reality

Veteran Hollywood television and film production company Mandt Bros., whose credits include “Million Dollar Arm” and “Rome Is Burning,” is expanding into virtual reality content, with a particular focus on sports.

The newly formed Mandt VR, based in Los Angeles, will seek to operate in both live virtual reality content and post-produced material. The company has aligned with longtime sports media and marketing executive Gordon Whitener, a founding partner of Bespoke Sports & Entertainment and principal of his own Whitener Co., to aid in the formal launch of the venture, and it has added about two dozen employees to develop VR content.

“We’re storytellers at heart, and this is a powerful new forum to tell stories,” said Neil Mandt, head of Mandt VR. “The landscape and untapped opportunities in this space are very exciting.”

Mandt VR has developed a recruiting video in the enhanced format for Oklahoma State University that provides an immersive, 360-degree view of the football program’s facilities and the look and feel of the life of a player in Stillwater, Okla. The company is in talks with several other college athletic programs to develop similar videos, including University of Kentucky basketball.

The new Mandt VR has about two dozen employees to develop virtual reality content.
The VR recruiting videos in part seek to give geographically displaced recruits a sense of campuses without the need to travel and be on site.

“This is something where VR can really help solve a problem,” Mandt said. “In addition to NCAA limits on official visits, there are all sorts of constraints on athletic department time, resources and budgets that this technology can help address.”

The company also has an agreement with Chip Ganassi Racing to develop live VR content that does not conflict with other Ganassi or IndyCar Series media rights agreements. Mandt declined to detail specifics about the nature of the developing Ganassi VR content but said it would allow “motorsports to live in a virtual world, show new perspectives and bring it to fans around the world.”