With the high-profile use of aerial production drones and a big, multi-year investment in virtual reality, FOX Sports continues to lead the way in pushing into new frontiers of production technology, and with 34 patents secured to date and more than 70 additional patent applications pending — a record for FOX Sports — the network that brought you the “glowing” hockey puck and NASCAR’s “gopher cam” shows no signs of slowing down.
“Our passion to deliver the best possible viewing experience, bringing fans closer to the action, creates opportunities to invent new and unique ways to tell the story of sports … leading to the creation of valuable intellectual property,” said FOX Sports President, COO & Executive Producer Eric Shanks. “It’s an internal attitude throughout the entire organization. How can we do it better? How can we tap into the passion that only sports can deliver and offer a superior product to our viewers and advertisers?”
FOX SPORTS LAB, a designed approach to exploring technical partnerships that give viewers a fresh perspective and ad sales teams more targeted sports integrations, already has conducted major tests with AERIAL DRONES and partnered with industry leader NextVR in producing VIRTUAL REALITY offerings from the DAYTONA 500, the BIG EAST BASKETBALL TOURNAMENT and a PREMIER BOXING CHAMPIONS title fight in 2016.
Several of the more innovative production efforts securing patents, with additional patents pending, include:
RED LIGHT, GREEN LIGHT (Patent No. 9,288,545 B2): FOX Sports, through FOX Sports Lab, created unique graphic overlays to enhance golf broadcasts. These overlays, demonstrating topography of the greens, quality of the shots and “green light all the way” play amongst golfers, were unveiled at the 2015 U.S. OPEN and used again at the 2015 FRANKLIN TEMPLETON SHOOTOUT. (Photos available)
GOPHER CAM (Patent No. 8,638,366 B2 ): FOX Sports, in conjunction with Inertia Unlimited, developed the asphalt mounted, standard definition, in-ground camera, for use during the DAYTONA 500 and other motor sports events. This innovation was filed as a U.S. patent back in 2009 and issued in 2014. Several pending applications, including an HD version, may issue as soon as this year. (Photos available)
WHATIFSPORTS.COM WATCH AND WIN (Patent Nos. 8,622,835 B2 & 9,028,328 B2): Whatifsports.com, which became part of FOX Sports Interactive Media, LLC in 2014, had two patents issued recently based upon applications filed in 2011. Both patents are directed to the “Watch and Win” game successfully launched on FOX Sports/Whatifsports.com. The patents protect games generated for both sporting events or entertainment where a series of questions related to the live events are generated, organized and provided to viewers through an interactive gaming interface. The inventive game ties together the broadcast server and the interactive server simultaneously, so that the viewer can interactively answer questions in real time.