Shaq to Host New Year’s Eve VR Special on Meta Platforms

Hour-long event features performances by Cardi B, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Killer Mike, Whipped Cream and DJ Diesel (aka Shaquille O'Neal)

Shaquille O'Neal

Shaquille O’Neal emceeing a New Year’s Eve party — and you’re invited to experience it in VR.

“The Shaq-tacular Spectacular” is a one-hour special produced for Meta’s VR and social platforms. The recorded event will stream on Dec. 31 in a repeating loop — all night — featuring musical acts, celebrity entertainment and “an epic neon-light performance” complete with a DJ set from Shaq himself. The countdown special features performances by Cardi B, Ludacris, Lil Yachty, Killer Mike, Whipped Cream and DJ Diesel (O’Neal’s deejay stage name), along with appearances by former NFL player Rob Gronkowski and model Camille Kostek.

Shaq’s New Year’s Eve event will premiere Saturday, Dec. 31, at 3:30 p.m. PT, in VR in Meta Horizon Worlds and on Meta Quest TV, available in the Meta Quest 2 headset, as well as on O’Neal’s Facebook and Instagram pages and in Messenger’s Watch Together.

“This year we’re ringing in 2023 with new experiences and connections. I’m excited to celebrate with some of my favorite artists and athletes in a way that you can enjoy with friends and family in VR across the world,” Shaq said in a statement. “From music, laughs and much more, we’re celebrating New Year’s Eve and welcoming 2023 with a spectacular party you won’t want to miss!”

The set features a roller rink, basketball court and main stage. In addition to the featured performers, the festivities will include a marching band, cheerleaders, pro roller skaters, basketball players and fans. “The Shaq’tacular Spectacular” also will include dance-offs, which VR users will be able to replicate in the virtual experience.

The special is produced by Westbrook Media, Media.Monks and O’Neal’s Jersey Legends Productions, in partnership with Meta. The project continues Meta’s VR entertainment push, designed to drive people into the “metaverse,” following others including a virtual concert with a computer-generated avatar of late rapper the Notorious B.I.G., “Eli Roth’s Haunted House: Trick-VR-Treat,” starring Vanessa Hudgens, and a VR experience based on Jordan Peele’s “Nope.”

“Virtual reality has become such an exciting new way to experience and participate in and engage with entertainment and culture,” Westbrook Media president Brad Haugen said. “We are thrilled to partner with Shaq, the team at Jersey Legends, Media.Monks and Meta and invite audiences to spend New Year’s Eve with some of their favorite performers and athletes in a way that truly allows them to feel like they are in the room too. The show has electrifying performances, hilarious and competitive games and it’s been so fun for us to explore all that we can do in this space.”

Watch the teaser trailer for “The Shaq’tacular Spectacular”:

Read the full special report