World first as basketball refs wear body-cameras to capture Final Four in VR
In what is claimed to be a worldwide first in major professional sports, fans will be able to get up-close to the Final Four in Istanbul this weekend thanks to a partnership between Euroleague Basketball and FirstVision, using body-camera technology to provide a unique view of the action.
According to Euroleague.net, viewers will experience, through virtual reality, what it feels like to actually be on the court thanks to the use of 360-degree body-cameras when the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Final Four comes to the Sinan Erdem Dome from May 19 to 21. One referee in every game will wear brand new FirstVision jerseys which will give a VR courtside view, taking sports broadcasting closer to the action.
Content will be available for fans to watch after the games, on-demand at Euroleague.net, highlighting the best moments of the 360-degree coverage both from the referees’ jersey cams and from other cameras located courtside. 360-degree, VR, and Augmented Reality (AR) production company Mister Fogg will be collaborating with FirstVision and Euroleague Basketball to produce and deliver the best footage recorded with the body-cameras to basketball fans.
There are also plans to pilot live VR broadcasts with 360-degree body-cameras during the 2017-18 Turkish Airlines EuroLeague season.
In April 2015, the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague became the world’s first major professional competition to test players wearing micro-cameras on their uniforms in an official game when Real Madrid hosted Zalgiris Kaunas. Several other games also have featured live broadcasts from jersey cams being worn by referees, including the last two Final Fours.
“360-degree BodyCameras have never been used before,” Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Director, Brand & Communication for Euroleague Basketball, said. “This marks another stage in the development of VR and sports broadcasting technology. We are very excited to give our fans the chance to live the Final Four from the inside like never before.
“Our previous projects with FirstVision have been extremely successful and we are confident that the use of 360-degree camera technology really will take our coverage of the Final Four to a completely new level.”
“VR has significantly contributed to bringing sports fans closer to the action than traditional broadcasting,” said Roger Antunez, CEO of FirstVision. “But instead of re-creating existing content in VR, our goal was to innovate even further and create brand-new, action-packed Point-Of-View content with our body-cameras, and the 360-degree technology is a great enhancement tool that will make the EuroLeague viewing experience even more immersive.
“We are very excited about the introduction of our VR product. It’s a big debut in sports and we couldn’t think of a better place to do it. It will be our third season together with Euroleague Basketball, the Final Four is our favourite event of the year, and we always try to bring our best cutting-edge innovations here.”