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    Sacramento Kings player Jason Thompson wears Google Glass for the filming of a Kings video introducing the glasses, which will be used for broadcast of the game Friday, Jan. 24, 2014.

  • Chris Carlson / AP

    Florida State's Jameis Winston trys out Google glasses during media day for the NCAA BCS National Championship college football game Saturday, Jan. 4, 2014, in Newport Beach, Calif.

Kings to use Google Glass video feeds on Friday night broadcast

Published: Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2014 - 11:16 pm
Last Modified: Wednesday, Jan. 22, 2014 - 12:55 pm

Chalk up another first for the tech-obsessed Sacramento Kings – a game broadcast in part via Google Glass.

After several days of hints, the Kings made it official Tuesday, announcing that they will deploy the emerging Google Glass technology to juice up the telecast of Friday night’s game vs. Indiana. The Kings said they will become the first pro sports team to use Google Glass.

Up to a dozen Kings employees and others connected to the organization – including one or two of the Kings dancers and team mascot Slamson – are expected to wear the special eyewear as they roam the sidelines and make their way through Sleep Train Arena.

The glasses are outfitted with tiny cameras, and video feeds will be incorporated into the broadcast on News10 and the Jumbotron screen at the arena.

What’s seen on Google Glass will supplement, not replace, the usual camera angles.

“The traditional broadcast isn’t going away,” said Jon Fisher, chief executive of CrowdOptic, a San Francisco tech company that will coordinate the various video feeds.

It will be up to the Kings’ broadcast production crew to decide which video feeds to use, said team spokesman Lorenzo Butler.

Butler said it’s still unclear who will wear the glasses. Players aren’t allowed to wear them on the court during games, but some Kings might wear them as they run through the tunnel onto the court, or during introductions of the starting lineups, Butler said.

He said it’s uncertain if any coaches will wear them. “That’s something we haven’t really put on the table,” he said.

He added that the Google Glass video will probably be used mainly for replays, not live action.

The Kings tested Google Glass during the Jan. 12 home game against Cleveland, with at least two players wearing the devices during pregame warmups. The Kings posted a video of the experiment on YouTube.

The announcement comes a week after the Kings became the first pro sports team to accept Bitcoin, the virtual currency that exists only on the Internet. Both developments are part of team Chairman Vivek Ranadive’s effort to make the Kings the most technologically advanced team in sports. Ranadive is chief executive of Tibco Software Inc. of Palo Alto, whose software powers the Kings’ new smartphone app.

Team president Chris Granger said Friday’s broadcast could be just a hint of what’s to come with Google Glass, particularly as fans start wearing the devices to games. “Fans could simply aim their smart devices to inherit someone else’s Google Glass view, or evaluate concessions lines,” Granger said in a prepared statement. “It is just a matter of time before Google Glass is an integral part of the fan experience of watching live sports.”

Call The Bee’s Dale Kasler, (916) 321-1066. Follow him on Twitter @dakasler.

Read more articles by Dale Kasler

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