Next-Gen Augmented Reality, Aerial Drones, 4K and Expanded Use of Shot Tracers Add to Viewing Experience

CHARLOTTE, NC – FOX Sports continues to upgrade tools in its golf bag, elevating its use of augmented reality, expanding the use of popular shot-tracing technology and outfitting Erin Hills with strategically placed weather-gathering instruments for the 117th U.S. Open Championship airing June 15-18 on FOX, FS1, FOX Deportes and FOX Sports GO.

“Over the last two years, we’ve had some great opportunities to really enhance and develop new tools for our production team,” said Zac Fields, FOX Sports SVP Graphic Tech & Innovation. “This year’s U.S. Open features the best complement of technology that we’ve ever had. We’re incredibly excited and look forward to offering golf fans a great viewing experience.”

With any army of cameras and microphones in play at Erin Hills, the focus is squarely on delivering more of what worked well over the last two championships, beginning with four days of aerial production drone flights next week, capturing unique images from each of the 18 holes.

“Through the use of drone technology, FOX Sports is out to capture the beauty of Erin Hills and the challenges the course presents the world’s best golfers,” said Brad Cheney, FOX Sports VP of Field Operations & Engineering. “This is our third year working to give viewers the true and unique perspective of being on the golf course that only drones can deliver.”

Augmented reality offerings get a boost from a 75-foot Strada Camera Crane, enabling graphic elements to be displayed on the course, as well as a studio jib, which allows for unique analysis of the golf course in a studio setting.

Adding to its efforts to provide accurate shot-tracing graphics, FOX Sports will equip all 18 holes with the ability to trace the golf ball, whether over live video or over a graphic representation of the specific golf hole. Nine tee boxes are equipped with Toptracer technology, allowing for live ball trace over video. The remaining nine tee boxes are equipped with Trackman radar, allowing for a combination of ball tracing and enhanced data. Two of these Trackman tee boxes will show a traditional ball trace along with data captured from the radar, while seven of the Trackman-equipped tee boxes will be used to show Emmy-nominated FOX FlightTrack, a live trace over a graphic representation of the golf hole, giving more perspective to the viewer.

There also will be a reverse tracer with the ability to show shots coming into the 15th green, as well as three roaming RF Toptracer units to provide even more flexibility in showing fairway shots on any hole.

And, in cooperation with DirecTV, FOX Sports is offering three holes in stunning 4K, through the Featured Holes Channel.

With the expectation that wind may be a factor at Erin Hills, FOX Sports is deploying five weather instruments strategically around the course, capturing wind direction and wind speed in an effort to display any impact on play.

Finally, as with all of FOX Sports’ live events, unparalleled audio quality will be an integral part of the broadcast. A total of 216 microphones will be positioned across Erin Hills, including cup microphones in all 18 holes to capture natural sound and conversations among players, caddies and officials on the greens.

All of the initiatives fall under the banner of FOX Sports Lab, a designed approach to exploring technical partnerships that give viewers a fresh perspective and ad sales teams more targeted sports integrations.

FOX SPORTS U.S. OPEN CHAMPIONSHIP TECH LIST

  • Staff & Support
    • 461 technicians
    • 65 support staff
    • 62,000+ man-hours over 15 days
  • Field Support
    • 36 miles of fiber optics
    • 504 strands of fiber optics available across the course
    • Networking
      • 704 Ethernet ports distributed across the course
      • 76 distinct managed networks
      • Three Gbps of Internet data managed
      • 73 Gbps of broadcast data managed
  • Cameras
    • 26 wireless cameras
    • 7 in 1080p
    • 12 – 100x lens-based cameras
    • 19 – 95x lens-based cameras
    • 3 – Xmo High-frame-rate cameras (4,000+ fps)
    • 1 – Sony 4800 – 16x – High-frame-rate camera (960fps)
    • 3 – RF Tracer cameras
    • RF RC truck camera
    • Mobile tower camera
    • Portable robotic camera
    • 75’ Strada Camera Crane
    • 4 – Jib cameras
  • Audio
    • 12 audio consoles
    • 216 microphones
      • 8 RF announcers
      • 18 hole microphones
      •  22 RF walking microphones