Michael Grotticelli /
08.12.2009 11:25 AM
Originally featured on BroadcastEngineering.com
Tiny digital cameras, information technologies change sports production

Miniature, wireless, handheld digital cameras and advanced information technology are rapidly transforming the sports TV viewing experience, industry experts say.

Phil Orlins, senior coordinating producer of ESPN’s X Games and Winter X Games, said miniature, wireless and handheld digital cameras are giving viewers unbelievable proximity in sports coverage. The cameras, Orlins said, put viewers in the action and take them just about any place on the field or court.

Almost overnight, he said, new camera technology has helped to create a fan base and is popularizing new sports categories for TV viewers. This is leading to an increase in the number of 27/7 sports networks.

Along with a new generation of cameras is the trend is toward mobile, rich and instant sports data. Radio frequency identification tags, global positioning system devices, remote cameras and broadband networks are combining and being synchronized to provide real-time sports data.

Sports technology company 94Fifty captures up to 6000 pieces of information a second from embedded sensors in a moving object like a basketball, soccer ball or hockey puck. Once collected, the data is uploaded to an off-site server and analyzed in seconds.

Information about how a top player is performing compared to last month or year is instantly available, so is comparing one athlete to other athletes of a certain age. Never before has such a vast amount of information been instantly available to sports fans.

The sports world is on the cusp of changing into a whole new paradigm because of information technologies, said 94Fifty’s CEO and founder Mike Crowley.

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