This is now officially the summer of 360-degree sports coverage. From motorcycle racing to the Olympics, fans can watch the action in an entirely new way, with spherical cameras cameras bringing them closer to the action than ever before. Nowhere is this craze more dominant, it would seem, than in the world of golf.
Just last week, Allie (maker of another 360-degree camera) announced it was partnering with the American Century Championship to broadcast the celebrity golf tournament live in 360 degrees. And on Monday, Ricoh followed suit, announcing the selection of its tiny Theta S as the official 360-degree camera of the Ricoh Women’s British Open as part of the company’s 360 View of Golf initiative.
As Ricoh is the title sponsor of the event (and has been for the past 10 years), it’s not exactly a surprise that the organizers would find a place for the Theta S in it. While the full-spherical camera does support live-streaming, it looks like Ricoh will be using it solely for behind-the-scenes content, including inside-the-ropes views and interviews with players.
“Ricoh’s 360 View of Golf is an innovative and exciting way to bring 360 video and stills technology to golf fans and the sport as a whole,” said Ross Hallett, IMG Championship director, in a press release.
Jake Yamashita, deputy president of Ricoh, added, “360-degree technology is still relatively new and offers fans an unprecedented level of engagement with the Championship, as well as a unique immersive experience from the Woburn Golf Club.”
The small size and discrete look of the Theta S would seem to make it well-suited to covering a game like golf. In fact, after having been tested on the backs of sheep in the Faroe Islands, shooting video at a golf tournament should be candy.
The Women’s British Open kicks off (swings off?) this Thursday, July 28, and runs through the weekend. Fans can follow all the 360-degree action through the tournament’s website, which currently has some preview content up.