11 Dec 2018

By: Sport Industry Group

Fox Sports has introduced 'flag cam' for the first time in its soccer coverage.

The feature debuted during a live broadcast of the MLS Cup Final, following its successful implementation in the channel's NFL coverage.

The miniature cameras formed part of a 26-camera setup at the Mercedes-Benz Stadium in Atlanta.

Two of the four corner flags had the equipment embedded through a small hole carved into the side of the flag pole, leaving the lens exposed to capture footage.  

The angle provides a unique view of the action and offers an alternative look at corner kicks or action near the flags.

Speaking before the final Michael Davies, senior vice president of Field and Technical Operations for Fox Sports said: “This is the big, ultimate event for the MLS. We have it covered as an elite game to make sure we don’t miss anything.

“We have seen the value of pylon cameras in American football from time to time, so we decided to try the corner flags.

“I think the corner cams fit nicely into that portfolio of small POV cams.

"We’ll look for opportunities to use this new view to enhance our storytelling.”

The unit was first tested by Fox Sport during an MLS Cup playoff match at Red Bull Stadium.

These shots were not used in the live feed footage, but a highlight reel was sent to the Major League Soccer offices and to a Professional Referees Organisation for approval - required because being placed on the corner flag means that the cameras are in play.

It is hoped that going forward the technology will be developed into 4K and higher frame rates as the industry shifts to higher resolution live feeds.

As well as flag camera, Fox also installed POV cameras in the goals, the dressing rooms and along the tunnels leading out to the pitch in a mirror of its NFL coverage.

The final between Atlanta United versus Portland Timbers was watched by a MLS record crowd of 73,019, and broke the previous record of 61,316 that stood from 2002.