Football is still mostly a mystery to me, but I occasionally find matches on TV and leave them on so I can soak it up via osmosis. This weekend, the Champions League final was on TV, and we watched Bayern Munich – the only German team I have heard of – play another German team. At one point I recognised the name Schweinsteiger but that’s about as far as it went.
Where the real interest of this game lay was in a new addition to the Sky Sports app on the iPad. This is an app that is available for people who are subscribed to Sky Sports in some capacity, and it allows for tablet viewing with a few extra features. For the Champions League final, they gathered the information from up to twenty cameras around the pitch and made them available as highlights, for replay, and to review.
In an attempt to give fans more of an overview of key moments of the game, and presumably in lieu of goal line technology, Sky offered these many camera angles of each important moment. So, for example, a goal or a near miss would be available to review from near and far, from fixed cameras and Steadicam runners, from the pitch to the crowd.
From the screenshot above, you can see how easy it is to use. Something key would happen and the specific incidents would appear along the bottom with an indicator of how many camera angles are available to review. Select the replays in question, and then you can pick your desired view from the many camera options placed around the pitch above.
This is just brilliant. It took me a while to get used to what I was seeing, and given my lack of any bearings whatsoever, I often got confused and picked the wrong camera for what I wanted. But, for people that are better at directions and know what they’re looking for when it comes to footballing incidents, this could be an incredibly useful feature.
It could go even further and be able to sync between shots – so you could select one and halfway through move to another view, rather than going back to the beginning each time like it currently does. I also thought a 14 camera replay of the trophy lift was perhaps a bit obsessive. But those are minor complaints against what is a really great step forward in bringing more information to the armchair fan.
The launch of this feature was brought to specifically coincide with the Champions League final, but they are meant to be making it available for every single Champions League match they cover next season. I can see this catching on, and not just for football. It would be particularly useful in Formula One, and I can see it putting Hawkeye to shame in tennis matches in the future, too.