Fox Sports said it will be trotting out some new tech-powered features for its coverage of the Dec.3 Big Ten Football Championship game between Penn State and Wisconsin.
That platform will stitch a 2D live feed of the game inside the suite along with some new interactive elements and improved point-of-view indicators and camera positions. For the game and the VR option, it will use five cameras, including an Ultra HD camera on a cart that offered a sideline view of the line of scrimmage on every play, the general eye camera that views the entire field, as well as cameras affixed to each goal post.
Those enhancements come after Fox Sports and LiveLike teamed up for the Sept. 17 matchup between Ohio State and Oklahoma.
Though Fox Sports has been offering VR experiences of sports events through its partnership with NextVR, the LiveLike platform “gives you a different kind of VR experience,” Michael Davies, senior vice president of field and technical operations at Fox Sports, said.
“While live VR is important, you need to give the viewer something else to do,” he added, citing the elements that provide access to replays and stats. “We think that the audience will come for the live VR, but they will stay for some of the other things they can do with it.”
Fox Sports and LiveLike are planning to expand on the platform when they hook up for the Dec. 10 MLS Cup between Toronto FC and the Seattle Sounders. More about those features, and the revenue-making potential of the VR endeavor, will be featured in a story appearing in the Next TV section of the Dec. 5 editions of Multichannel News and Broadcasting & Cable.
Also for the game, with pregame coverage set for 7 p.m. ET, Fox Sports has teamed up with GoPro to offer a new point-of-view perspective from small cameras that are woven into the hats of on-field referees.
Following a test on for the Wisconsin-Minnesota matchup on Big 10 Network, Davies said Fox Sports collaborated on this with GoPro’s services division, which can take apart and reassemble the cameras in ways that allow them to “fit into almost anything.” For the Big 10 Championship, those cameras will be “low-profile” as they will be sewn into the refs’s fitted caps.
“You’ll hardly be able to tell it’s there,” he said.
Fox will use the referee cams for TV replays and also offer a delayed signal of those audio-free feeds on Fox Sports Go, its TV Everywhere app.
“We feel that we're just scratching the surface with something like this,” Davies said.
Here’s a look at the ref-cam feed from the recent test: