GoPro's deal with the NHL puts you right in the middle of the action
As wearable cameras get smaller, lighter and more powerful, so their potential increases, and the new deal that GoPro has inked with the National Hockey League is proof of that. Some of the players in last weekend's 2015 All-Stars Skills Competition and 2015 Honda NHL All-Star Game were kitted out with head-mounted GoPro cameras to capture all the action as it happened and give viewers a unique angle on the play.
It's the first time GoPro has teamed up with a professional sports league, but it's unlikely to be the last. As wearable cameras become ever more invisible and easy to wear, it's a safe bet that we'll be seeing more of this type of technology in the years to come. Drones also have huge potential for covering sporting events like never before, and were extensively used at the Winter Olympics in Sochi last year – put a high-definition camera in an unobtrusive, airborne robot and all kinds of possibilities open up.
The NHL is promising "never-before-seen perspectives of the game" in its use of the GoPro equipment, which will utilize a new high-definition streaming transmitter developed by the camera manufacturer in partnership with Vislink.
For the first time, HD GoPro footage can be beamed live as well as captured on a memory card, giving TV producers a new view of the action. As well as showing live shots to the audience, highlights of the captured footage can be used to aid studio analysis of skating, stickhandling, goal scoring and netminding. In return for all of this technological wizardry, GoPro gets plenty of exposure on the NHL's television and social media channels.
No one is going to wear a GoPro camera if it could impede their speed or performance, so it will be a while before we see this kind of technology appear in basketball, soccer or athletics, but there will come a point where player and referee cams are lightweight enough to become ubiquitous. In the meantime, if you're tuning into the NHL during 2015 then don't be surprised to see one or two head-mounted GoPros in use.
The following video shows players trying out the helmet-mounted GoPros.