NFL To Expand Intel freeD 360-degree-replay Technology to More Stadiums in 2017

7 April 2017

The NFL will expand deployments of Intel freeD 360-degree-replay technology at more stadiums for this upcoming season, adding to existing deployments in stadiums in Baltimore, Houston and San Francisco. The league did reveal the specific stadiums where the Intel systems would be added. Intel freeD technology creates 360-degree replays that allow fans to see key plays from every angle. In addition, the technology was used during Fox’s Super Bowl LI broadcast to create a “Be the Player” POV replays from the quarterback’s perspective on the field.

In addition to being available in-stadium and for NFL live broadcasts, highlights from Intel freeD-equipped stadiums will be available to fans on, NFL Mobile and the NFL YouTube channel. Additionally, the NFL and Intel will work with NFL Clubs and game broadcast partners to expand the use of Intel freeD technology.

“The Intel Sports Group is committed to transforming how sports leagues and rights holders can deliver immersive experiences that enhance fan engagement,” Intel Sports Group GM James Carwana said in a statement. “By integrating Intel technology into select NFL stadiums, we’re enabling unparalleled views of the action to some of the most passionate fans in the world. With Intel’s freeD technology, we’ll offer fans a more immersive viewing experience, draw in new content engagement and push the boundaries of sports innovation.”

The Intel freeD system requires 38 5K cameras to be placed strategically around the stadium to cover the action from all 360 degrees, which are coupled with Intel-based servers capable of processing up to 1 terabyte of data per 15- to 30-second clip. The volumetric video capture travels over miles of fiber-optic cables and is fed to a special control room where a team of producers select and package the replays.

“We are very excited to be in partnership with a technology leader like Intel,” said Vishal Shah, senior vice president of Digital Media for the NFL.  “Fans will be able to experience compelling new vantage points of game action, both at home and in the stadium. We look forward to seeing what we can build together with Intel freeD technology, and driving innovative sports experiences for our fans.”

The Intel freeD system was most recently deployed for CBS Sports’ broadcasts of the NCAA Final Four and Championship Game at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ, . In addition to being deployed at Super LI, Super Bowl 50, and national NFL telecasts from Baltimore, Houston, and San Francisco, Intel freeD has been utilized for the US Open (tennis), MLB All-Star Game, NBA All-Star Game and NBA Playoffs, the Rio Olympics, New York Yankees baseball, and a multitude of other high-profile events.

Intel acquired Replay Technologies and its freeD technology in March 2016 as part of its major push into the sports-production market. The company officially launched Intel Sports Group last fall and acquired VOKE VR in November with an eye on producing sports content. The NFL signed a deal with Intel in December 2016 to create personalized, fully immersive virtual-reality highlights using VOKE’s TrueVR technology.