Bringing fans even closer to the game, the WNBA announced today that “Ref Cam” will be used for the first time during the broadcast of a U.S. professional basketball game on Saturday, June 8, when the Phoenix Mercury meet the defending champion Indiana Fever in a nationally televised game on ABC at 3:30 p.m. ET.
The use of the new angles and points of view provided by “Ref Cam” was part of the recent announcement by the WNBA and ESPN regarding the extension of their partnership through the 2022 season.
During Saturday’s live telecast from Indianapolis, Ref Cam – a wireless high definition (HD), mini point of view camera paired with an HD mini transmitter – will be positioned at eye-level on one of the game’s three officials, allowing viewers to virtually be on the court as the referee’s first-person perspective is incorporated into the live broadcast in real time.
“ESPN is incredibly open to new elements that enhance the overall viewing experience for WNBA fans,” said WNBA President Laurel J. Richie. “We are excited to be at the forefront of delivering unique perspectives on the game to our viewers and look forward to unveiling a series of new initiatives in partnership with ESPN.”
In addition to the camera headgear, the fully remote system – designed by Maryland-based Broadcast Sports, Inc. (BSI) – includes a vest, which will be worn underneath the official’s shirt. The vest will contain the transmitter and batteries that provide the power and video.
BSI will have two engineers on-site at Bankers Life Fieldhouse to assist in the deployment of the gear and to help the game official with the fit.
An industry leader in wireless point of view systems, BSI previously provided “Ref Cam” equipment for use during the telecast of a rugby match in France this spring.
WNBA fans also were the first ones to see free throw attempts from an on-court perspective on ESPN networks, which was made possible by allowing handheld cameras on the playing court.