As if tonight’s clasico didn’t have enough to make it worth watching already, Euroleague is sticking cameras on the jerseys of players to be used during the broadcast. Emmet Ryan spoke with Euroleague’s Alex Ferrer about this latest effort to bring the fans closer to the action.
Real Madrid vs Barcelona in a car park is enough of a reason for most people to sit up and take notice. In a Top 16 game with real importance, it’s a pretty huge fixture. Now there’s an extra reason to tune in to a game that was already appointment viewing.
Earlier in the week we saw Euroleague’s experiment with jersey mounted cameras at practice for FC Barcelona. Tonight, the technology gets put to the test in the heat of battle between two of the fiercest rivals in sport.
“We have been obsessed with bringing the court experience to the fans. Last year we did the tests with Google Glass. It was nice but it had some limitations as the glasses could never be worn by players and it couldn’t broadcast live,” Alex Ferrer, brand and comminications director at Euroleague told BallinEurope.
The experiment with Google Glass saw referees wear the device during a Top 16 game last season and the third place game at the Final Four. It made for excellent highlight footage but Euroleague didn’t want to wait for post-game editing to bring the experience to the fans. They needed to get a camera on jerseys that could send video back live.
“We kept on looking for other options and around November we got in touch with Canal+, our television partner in Spain, and they knew this new technology. We had a contact for a start-up in Barcelona working on the technology, First V1sion, and we met in the University of La Salle who we work with,” said Ferrer.
“We simply fell in love with the product and Canal+ was willing to test in a live game. It was the perfect combination so we started testing and we ended up here with a game that will be aired in 160 countries on Thursday,” he said.
The test footage from Barcelona’s practice was impressive, with the speed and physciality of the sport shown in a unique light. Ferrer said this is the type of experience Euroleague is aiming for.
“It’s one of the things we want to show. You can never feel what the players feel but this is the closest you can be to feeling that. You can feel the speed of the game and the contact between players. All of that is an added value. We can show the conversations in timeouts with the coaches and conversations with the referees. All of that is something you could never feel if not for the camera position,” he said.
The league, which has really been a front runner when it comes to finding new places to stick cameras, doesn’t plan on stopping here. As far as Ferrer is concerned, new technologies can only serve Euroleague in efforts to improve the fan experience.
“It’s been one of our priorities in the last year and we can’t go the other way. We need to embrace new technologies. If you don’t you will not reach the fans as they wish to be reached. In our opinion it’s an only way to go. It’s not an option, it’s a must that we try these things,” he said.