Riedel debuts RefCam in German Bundesliga

Riedel CommunicationsRefCam referee camera system made its German Bundesliga debut in a recent match between Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, marking a significant milestone in the evolution of sports coverage. Worn by soccer referee Daniel Schlager, the RefCam system captured an immersive, up-close perspective of the game through the eyes of the match official. This first-of-its-kind initiative in the Bundesliga aims to offer fans a unique view of the on-field action, and to highlight the intricate challenges faced by referees during the heat of the match.

Through a joint venture named In-YS (In Your Shoes), Riedel Communications collaborated with referees Patrick Kessel and Nicolas Winter to develop RefCam. Their partnership ensured that the camera system was designed with a deep understanding of referees’ needs and concerns regarding the use of such technology.

“We don’t want to change the game; our goal is to provide fresh perspectives and further increase the transparency of referees’ work,” said Nicolas Winter, Co-Founder and Managing Director, In-YS. “Our camera shows unmediated reality, the true speed at which we must make decisions. We hope that this will increase appreciation of our work among fans and athletes — and help counteract the current shortage of young referees.”

RefCam comprises a head-mounted camera integrated with a transmission system. Because the headgear is ultra-lightweight, weighing just 6 grams, it is barely noticeable for the wearer. The system is available in live and record-only versions, and it features a mute and shutdown function for the microphone to ensure privacy for the referee using the system.

The footage captured by RefCam during the Bundesliga match was featured in the 30-minute program “Referees Mic’d up – Bundesliga,” produced by DFL Digital Sports. This program, aired on March 12, was distributed to both national and international media partners, offering unprecedented insights into the world of soccer officiating. Approval to use the RefCam system was granted by the International Football Association Board (IFAB) and in close coordination between DFB, DFL, and the participating clubs. While Riedel Communications used the record-only version of RefCam during this unique use case, the company has already demonstrated the system’s ability to produce broadcast-quality images during various events with national and international leagues.

“RefCam is a Riedel innovation through and through,” said Jan Schaffner, Program Manager, Riedel Communications. “Following this successful Bundesliga debut, we will conduct a thorough review of RefCam’s performance in collaboration with Bundesliga officials. This evaluation will determine any necessary adjustments to optimize the technology for future use.”

Looking forward, RefCam is set to be a prominent offering from Riedel’s Managed Technology division, which specializes in delivering custom-engineered technologies complemented by comprehensive support from Riedel’s team of qualified engineers. This division previously played a pivotal role in designing a reliable communication infrastructure for Bundesliga referees, showcasing Riedel’s commitment to enhancing sports broadcasting through technological innovation.

“Our RefCam represents a significant leap forward in the live broadcasting of sports,” added Schaffner. “This innovative system promises to transform the way fans engage with sports, further cementing Riedel’s status as a pioneer in the field of communication and broadcasting technology.”

Info: www.riedel.net

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