The San Francisco 49ers NFL American football franchise has teamed up with Foxconn Industrial Internet (Fii) to unveil what it claims is the world’s first-ever full-field 8K video replay system at Levi’s Stadium.
The system will debut on November 5, when the 49ers host the Green Bay Packers on Thursday Night Football. The completion of the system comes just over a year after the 49ers signed a multi-year deal with Fii to explore ways in which 8K technologies can be used at Levi’s Stadium.
The new system will feature five 8K cameras, positioned inside the stadium to provide full-field coverage and clear views of all goallines and sidelines, which will utilise what the 49ers claim is an “incomparable” digital zoom without pixilation.
An initial two-camera test run was successfully staged last year during a 49ers home game against the Rams on December 21. Further tests and demos were carried out during recent home games against the Eagles, Dolphins and Rams.
A 49ers spokesperson told TheStadiumBusiness.com that the team did not have to upgrade its video boards to accommodate the 8K footage. The team’s 1080p HD, LED boards are currently in their seventh year of operation and are fully compatible with the 8K technology.
The initial impact of the 8K cameras is primarily dedicated to the in-stadium experience and not fans watching on TV or mobile devices.
“At this time our focus is on the in-stadium implementation along with sharing video clips on social media in the days following the game to demonstrate this technology for our fans,” the spokesperson said. “With fans currently not permitted to attend games in person due to COVID-19 restrictions, this year provides us a great opportunity to conduct a trial run of the 8K video system and demonstrate its use in the course of a game for better looks at replays.”
As part of the deal signed last year, Fii took on presenting sponsor rights for the 49ers museum, press room and the East Field Club, which was rebranded as the Fii Club.
Following the unveiling of the new 8K system, Aron Kennedy, 49ers vice-president of game day production and broadcast operations, said: “What started out more than a year ago as a dream for Levi’s Stadium, our 8K video replay system is finally complete and we can’t wait to showcase it to the world.
“It is an amazing feeling to see a project as advanced as this through from the brainstorming stages, to the final tests and completion. We are very fortunate to have Fii on our team as a corporate partner who shares our commitment to enhancing the fan experience.”
China-headquartered Fii said in a statement: “Football is a game of inches, but the closest officiating calls come down to millimetres. With an 8K camera, which has four times the image resolution of the human eye, fans, coaches and referees will be able to better see a single blade of grass, some white and some green, and more accurately determine whether the football broke the goal line or if a wide receiver’s toe was out of bounds. With examples like this, the possibilities for 8K camera technology throughout the sports entertainment industry will be endless.”