GoPro, Glass, Ref Cam – A Different Sports Perspective

I participated in a Twitter chat recently. If you don’t know what they are or haven’t participated in one yet, Sports Networker’s, Mark J Burns, put together a guide for sports-related ones, here.

The one I usually participate in is #smsportschat. This chat is about social media (sm) in sports. The question I answered last Thursday was regarding what we want to see teams share in their content. My response, retweeted by my friend, Tariq Ahmad.

Not long after this chat took place, the below video made the rounds on Twitter:

That was my cue to write a quick post on it.

Although it has been around since 2001, the GoPro camera has been gaining steam through sports leagues and teams the last several years.  With the advent of social media, the awareness of this tool has increased amongst fans. In May, Manchester City posted their own YouTube video showing some of what you see in the GoPro video above.

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So what’s the big deal? Why is this becoming an in-thing? For one reason: a different perspective.

As fans, we sometimes ask “what in the world is (insert player name here) looking at?”. With GoPro (and Google Glass, which I’ll discuss later), it gives a first-person perspective to fans. Whether it’s during football practice,

or auto racing,

or flying,

or golf (h/t to Ryan David – @RDGolfMedia)

Welcome to the world of two-time World Long Drive Champ Jamie Sadlowski. Poor golf balls. #GoPro

A post shared by Callaway Golf (@callawaygolf) on

or motocross racing.

The advent of GoPro in sports is inevitable. I fully expect to see more of behind-the-scenes footage if not during the college football, NFL or soccer seasons, then at least sometime during the NBA season, I would expect to see teams use this tool more.

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But, GoPro isn’t the only resource we will see being used by teams, leagues and athletes. Google Glass is another player in the “perspective” market.

Oakland Raiders’ punter, Chris Kluwe, posted some YouTube videos he made using Google Glass during practice.

Others in the NFL are making use of it too during training camp:

One of the early sports adopters of Google Glass has been Major League Soccer’s (MLS) Director of Social Media, Amanda Vandervort. Amanda is prolific in tweeting photos using Glass, but she’s done a few videos too. The first video could be a “how to” guide:

While researching for this quick post, I did a search on YouTube for some additional videos. Check out these other Google Glass videos:

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I would be remiss if I didn’t at least mention this video. It’s not a GoPro or Google Glass but it is worth bringing to the discussion for the uniqueness of it. It’s called a Ref Cam. According to this article, it was made by a company called, Broadcast Sports Inc. The video was taken during the most recent MLS All-Star Game pitting the MLS All-Stars against A.S. Roma

Ref Cam has been used in other sports prior to this MLS match. Back in June, the WNBA featured a Ref Cam during a game. In February, however, the first Ref Cam used in the northern hemisphere debuted in a rugby match, this one “developed by BT Sport“:

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FINAL THOUGHT: I, for one, love the possibilities for sports content. I have asked that question I posed earlier, “what were they looking at?” many a times. I don’t know whether we’ll see it during a live sporting event in the major American sports but the behind the scenes content for any sport is something I feel fans crave. The possibilities could be endless.

What do you think? Do you like seeing this perspective in sports? How soon do you think we’ll see it during a game? Or will we? 

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CadChica Sports

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