NEW YORK (TheStreet) -- The shares of Facebook (FB - Get Report) are climbing and are near a 52-week high after research firm Piper Jaffray wrote that the company's Oculus division could enable consumers to watch NBA and NHL games using virtual reality technology.

WHAT'S NEW: Oculus could enable fans to watch NBA and NHL games from "virtual courtside and rinkside seats," Piper analyst Gene Munster wrote in a note to investors today. The NBA has already announced that four of its events will be shown on 360 video format on Samsung's virtual reality streaming service, while the NHL is already testing live virtual reality broadcasts and should make short clips of its games available in the near future, Munster stated. Many obstacles must be overcome before live streaming, virtual reality courtside seats will be made available and it may take eight then ten years before such streaming becomes a reality, Munster believes. However, in the near future games are likely to be broadcast on virtual reality after they are played, the analyst stated. Moreover, enabling virtual reality broadcasts of NBA and NHL games would be "a meaningful step" for Oculus and the value of the division, Munster contended. He kept an $84 price target and Overweight rating on Facebook.

WHAT'S NOTABLE: On January 23, the NHL announced a North American partnership with GoPro (GPRO - Get Report) . As part of their partnership, the NHL will use GoPro's equipment and expertise to deliver high-definition video content during national and regional game broadcasts and across its digital and social media platforms, the partners stated.

PRICE ACTION: In early afternoon trading, Facebook rose $1.15, or 1.5%, to $80.71, nearing its 52-week high of $82.17.

Reporting by Larry Ramer.

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