WNBA's season opener, which featured the phenom Brittney Griner and Roc Nation Sports' Skylar Diggins, had the most viewers the league has had in a regular season game in almost a decade. The new stars are bringing in some new "fans," but they may only hold some of their attention for so long. So the league has developed a new feature that may continue conversation: a new camera perspective.
Introducing the ref cam, a new angle that debuted in yesterday's Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever game. The camera was mounted by a pair of glasses worn by official Lamont Simpson and looked about as awkward as it sounds.
Broadcast Sports Inc. developed the gadget, and the company's general manager, Peter Larsson, said the idea for the cam came from the X-Games and NASCAR's on-board camera. The results feel slightly more gimmicky than the two.
WNBA president Laurel Richie said, "[Yesterday's] broadcast was a great opportunity to be at the forefront in terms of providing viewers with unique perspectives on our game. The use of ref cam certainly offered a previously unseen point of view that really brought viewers into the action, adding a whole new visual and audio component to the experience."
It was also more intense than we thought it would be to see Candice Dupree yelling at the referee after a technical foul. With the new ref cam, it sort of looks like she's yelling at you. We'll see if this catches on (and the viewers stay) as the season progresses.