Watching rugby on either in the bleachers or on TV might be as close as you ever want to come to the extremely physical contact sport, but thanks to the new “RefCam” fans can get even more of a sense of what it’s like to be on the field.
A YouTube video posted of a Fox Sports out of Australia reported that referee Chris Pollock debuted the around-the-ear camera technology last week. The footage was tweeted by GoPro suggesting it might be one of the company’s mountable cameras.
“It’s an absolute game changer,” Fox Sports’ Sean Maloney said of the RefCam.
The footage from the camera is transmitted by a radio-frequency system inside the ref’s vest.
We spotted the new camera on Reddit first and fans are showing how excited they are on the social news website.
“The best thing is that this footage just went viral and is on the front page. Has rugby content ever made the front page of reddit before?” the top comment Redditor Pingable on the thread read.
Given that the camera can also pick up on sound, some on Reddit were wondering if it would change player behavior.
“[I'm] pretty sure they will [tone] it down, but definitely there will be those ‘heat of the moment’ incidents going on,” the Redditor going by Das_Goon, who posted the video on the site initially, wrote.
Another Redditor wrote that a similar idea was tried by the US 7s team, but the cameras was mounted on the referree’s chest.
“This was SO MUCH BETTER,” msmack wrote. “At the US 7s it was pretty useless, as the refs body is rarely facing the same direction as their head unless running. This looked awesome and hopefully is widely introduced.”
Watch Fox Sports showing off the technology:
Now will such a device make it into other sports? Bleacher Report pointed out that such a system would make the calls by refs in the NFL, for example, more transparent or it could be used as another perspective for the highlight reel.
“After a great NFL hit or an amazing MLB play, you could get the official’s perspective, getting the vantage point of someone who is actually on the field,” Bleacher Report’s Gabe Zaldivar wrote.