WNBA Debuts New Referee Camera in Phoenix Mercury vs. Indiana Fever Game

Alex Ballentine@Ballentine_AlexFeatured ColumnistJune 9, 2013

Ever wonder what referees were seeing when they made questionable calls? The WNBA has you covered.

The WNBA became the first league to use a referee cam on its national telecast of Saturday's game between the Phoenix Mercury and the defending champion Indiana Fever, per the association's official website.

According to the release, the new camera presentation was a part of the new agreement that the league reached with ESPN through the 2022 season. Michael Grady of ESPN 1070 tweeted out a picture:

WNBA players have already responded to the new contraption. Candace Parker took to Twitter to comment on the hilarity of the whole thing.

Referee Lamont Simpson became the first referee to don the camera, which attaches to a special piece of headgear that looks like glasses. As Simpson told ESPN, the glasses took some getting used to, but eventually they didn't keep him from doing his job:

The first half, it took some adjusting to, especially when you started running and actually broke a sweat...The goggles started to loosen up and the sweat around the band started to loosen up. The first half was pretty much just adjusting the headset.

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The Mercury ultimately won the game, 82-67, but the integration of the referee cam added some intrigue to the broadcast. As WNBA president Laurel Richie told ESPN, it gave her league a great opportunity to be on the cutting edge from an innovation perspective:

Today's broadcast was a great opportunity to be at the forefront in terms of providing viewers with unique perspectives on our game. The use of ref cam certainly offered a previously unseen point of view that really brought viewers into the action, adding a whole new visual and audio component to the experience.

The camera was developed by Peter Larsson of Broadcast Sports Inc., who has developed cameras for NASCAR and the X Games. He told ESPN that developing a camera for sports like baseball or football is still a generation or two away.

Still, it's fun to imagine what it would be like to see things from Ed Hochuli's perspective.

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