上周三，罗伊•希伯特和印第安纳步行者队跟他最大的对手勒布朗•詹姆斯及迈阿密热火队交手，班克斯人寿球馆（Bankers Life Fieldhouse）的球迷们按计划将有幸从全新角度观战——通过遍布球场各个角落的谷歌眼镜摄像头观看实时转播。
Tonight when Roy Hibbert and the Indiana Pacers take on their biggest rivals, LeBron James and the Miami Heat, fans at Bankers Life Fieldhouse will get a whole new view of the action -- from shots taken by Google Glass cams around the arena.
The Pacers have partnered with San Francisco-based CrowdOptic, a startup focused on enhancing the experience for spectators at live events, to pull footage from devices worn by people like P.A. announcer Michael Grady, who sits at center court right, where players come in and out of the game; team mascot Boomer; the team DJ; ball boys; members of the Pacemates dance team; select fans; and even the dog trainer that will throw out Frisbees during the half-time show. When Pacers staff climb up to the catwalk in the rafters of the stadium to throw down prizes via parachute, they too will give spectators a birds-eye view.
As TVs get bigger, thinner and more technologically advanced, sports teams need to find new ways to enhance the live experience -- and make sure fans don't skip the arena for better views from their couches. For owners like the Pacers' Herb Simon, it's more important than ever; a year ago the team invested in a massive new 50-ft. by 21-ft. scoreboard, so large it nearly reaches from free throw line to free throw line.
"Herb Simon urged us from the get-go to be on the cutting edge of technology," Pacers Sports & Entertainment COO Rick Fuson says. "We had seen Google Glass in operation in a very quick use in Sacramento. We got ahold of them right away."
In January, the Sacramento Kings were the first NBA team to adopt the technology, even outfitting Kings players with the devices as they warmed up before a home game against the Pacers. Though Indiana plans to use CrowdOptic's technology through the playoffs, it's highly unlikely that players will wear them. With the Pacers leading the Eastern Conference, the team doesn't want to take any chances -- but it has let teammates George Hill, C.J. Watson, Solomon Hill and Lavoy Allen play around with the tech during pick-up games.
The team's standings also make the partnership a huge get for CrowdOptic, which had initially worked with Stanford's basketball and football teams, as well as the Sonoma Raceway. While the Kings have been quick to implement new technology -- from NFC to in-seat wireless charging, the digital currency Bitcoin and drone-cams from 3D Robotics -- the team is ranked third from the bottom in the Western Conference. "The Kings are hugely tech savvy," says CrowdOptic CEO Jon Fisher. "That's to be expected. But the Kings aren't in contention. It's a very different thing when the Pacers adopt the technology."
Tonight, 11 pairs of Google Glass will be in play, each outfitted with CrowdOptic software. The company's algorithm weeds out inferior views by frame rate and feeds the best footage to a launch platform in the AV room. From there, teams can pick the best shots to send to the Jumbo tron -- or just let CrowdOptic's technology figure it out. The footage can also be used by the local affiliates broadcasting the game.