Intel’s 2016 acquisition of Israel’s Replay Technologies is resulting in more 3D viewing opportunities for American football fans. Eleven new stadiums will now offer Replay’s freeD service, which broadcasts 360-degree immersive views from the field and players’ perspectives to viewers at home.
To work with freeD, Intel equips a stadium with 38 ultrahigh-definition cameras. The cameras capture the action and deliver a 3D experience via the NFL.com website, the NFL YouTube channel and the NFL mobile app.
Enhanced replays will also be broadcast in the stadiums for a closer look at the action on the field.
The freeD tech was already installed in the home stadiums of the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers. The new teams to offer it are the Arizona Cardinals, Carolina Panthers, Cleveland Browns, Indianapolis Colts, Kansas City Chiefs, New England Patriots, Washington Redskins and Minnesota Vikings (the site of Super Bowl LII).
“Seeing key plays up close and from new perspectives is redefining what it means to watch the game,” said James Carwana, general manager of Intel Sports.
“We’re thrilled to bring this innovative content to NFL fans both in stadium and at home,” added Vishal Shah, SVP of digital media at the NFL.
In addition to the 5K-resolution cameras, each sporting venue is equipped with Intel Xeon servers that process up to 1 terabyte of data per 15- to 30-second clip. After capturing this data, the video is fed through fiber-optic cables into a special control room, where an Intel production team virtually recreates the selected clip in 3D. As a result, fans can now be taken “into the game” from angles traditional cameras can’t reach.
Replay Technologies was founded in 2011. Intel began partnering with the company in 2013, first with basketball. Intel has dubbed the result of its 2016 acquisition of Replay “immersive sports,” and calls it a “new category for sports entertainment.”