Intel Acquires 360-Degree-Replay Outfit Replay Technologies

In a move that serves as a definitive boost for next-generation replay systems, Intel has acquired Israel-based Replay Technologies in a deal reportedly worth between $150 million and $170 million. Replay Technologies’ freeD (free-dimensional) system creates 360-degree panoramic replays and highlight packages for live sports productions using dozens of UHD cameras positioned throughout the venue. Intel has collaborated with Replay Technologies since 2013 to optimize the freeD system, which was most recently deployed by the NFL and CBS Sports at Super Bowl 50, as well as the NBA and Turner Sports at the NBA All-Star Game.

Replay Technologies' freeD system was utilized last month at the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto.

Replay Technologies’ freeD system was used last month at the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto.

“Together, we will scale this new category for sports entertainment that we call immersive sports, which is attracting the attention of leagues, venues, broadcasters, and fans,” Wendell Brooks, SVP, Intel Corp./president, Intel Capital, said in a blog post on Tuesday. “Immersive sports requires the high-performance computing Intel is known for, and it’s also data-driven, fueling the continued buildout of the cloud. For athletes, coaches, broadcasters, and fans, the ability to capture, analyze, and share data adds compelling new dimensions to the game.”

Founded in 2011, Replay Technologies is headquartered in Tel Aviv. According to WSJ, CEO Oren Yogev is expected to be appointed corporate VP at Intel. The company’s proprietary freeD format uses dozens of high-resolution cameras and compute-intensive graphics to enable viewers to see and experience sports events from any angle.

At the NBA All-Star Game in Toronto, for example, freeD technology created a seamless 3D video rendering of the court, via 28 UHD cameras positioned around the arena and connected to Intel-based servers. This system allowed broadcasters to give fans a 360-degree view of key plays, most notably during the Slam Dunk Contest.

Over the past four years, Replay Technologies has installed freeD systems at several major NFL, MLB, and NBA venues: AT&T Stadium in Arlington, TX (Dallas Cowboys), M&T Bank Stadium (Baltimore Ravens), Levi’s Stadium in Santa Clara, CA (San Francisco 49ers), Dodger Stadium (Los Angeles Dodgers), Yankee Stadium (New York Yankees), U.S. Cellular Field (Chicago White Sox), American Airlines Center (Dallas Mavericks), and Quicken Loans Arena (Cleveland Cavaliers). The freeD system was also deployed during last year’s US Open at the USTA Billie Jean King National Tennis Center in Queens, NY.

With Intel now behind the technology, expect more freeD installations at sports venues, as well as more-personalized content for fans as Intel looks to increase its presence in the augmented-reality tech sector.

“As part of Intel, the team will focus on growing their existing business and advancing their technology with Intel to deliver faster freeD processing and new features like the ability to manipulate and edit personalized content,” Brooks said. “Technology now plays an unprecedented role in sports … and we’re just getting started.”

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