Riedel Communications introduces RefCam in Bundesliga matches

In a recent game featuring Eintracht Frankfurt and VfL Wolfsburg, Riedel Communications unveiled its RefCam referee camera system, signaling a pivotal moment in sports coverage evolution within the German Bundesliga. Donned by soccer referee Daniel Schlager, the RefCam provided viewers with an immersive, close-up perspective directly from the match official’s point of view. This pioneering initiative in the Bundesliga aims to offer fans a fresh and distinctive angle on the on-field action while shedding light on the intricate challenges confronted by referees in the heat of the match.

In a collaborative effort under the banner of In-YS (In Your Shoes), Riedel Communications partnered with referees Patrick Kessel and Nicolas Winter to develop the RefCam. This partnership ensured that the camera system was meticulously crafted with a deep understanding of referees’ requirements and considerations regarding the integration of such technology, the company states.

“We’re not seeking to alter the game; our objective is to present novel perspectives and enhance the transparency of referees’ roles,” noted Nicolas Winter, Co-Founder and Managing Director of In-YS. “Our camera provides an unfiltered view, capturing the real-time pace at which decisions must be made. We anticipate that this will foster greater appreciation for our work among fans and athletes alike — and potentially mitigate the current shortage of young referees.”

The RefCam comprises a head-mounted camera seamlessly integrated with a transmission system. Its headgear, weighing merely 6 grams, ensures minimal interference for the wearer, under the camera’s specifications. The system is available in both live and record-only versions, incorporating a mute and shutdown feature for the microphone to safeguard the referee’s privacy while utilizing the system.

Footage captured by the RefCam during the Bundesliga match was showcased in the 30-minute program “Referees Mic’d up – Bundesliga,” produced by DFL Digital Sports. This program, aired on March 12, was disseminated to national and international media partners, offering unprecedented insights into the realm of soccer officiating. Authorization for employing the RefCam system was granted by the International Football Association Board (IFAB), in close collaboration between DFB, DFL, and the participating clubs. While Riedel Communications utilized the record-only version of RefCam for this distinctive application, the company has previously demonstrated the system’s capability to deliver broadcast-quality images across various events within national and international leagues, the company explained.

“RefCam epitomizes Riedel’s spirit of innovation,” remarked Jan Schaffner, Program Manager at Riedel Communications. “Following this successful debut in the Bundesliga, we will conduct a comprehensive assessment of RefCam’s performance in collaboration with Bundesliga officials. This evaluation will inform any necessary adjustments to optimize the technology for future use.”

Looking ahead, as Riedel has stated, RefCam is poised to become a flagship offering from Riedel’s Managed Technology division, which specializes in furnishing tailor-made technologies complemented by extensive support from Riedel’s team of proficient engineers. This division has previously played a pivotal role in devising a dependable communication infrastructure for Bundesliga referees, underscoring Riedel’s dedication to enhancing sports broadcasting through technological innovation, in the company’s words.

“Our RefCam represents a significant advancement in live sports broadcasting,” added Schaffner. “This innovative system holds the promise of revolutionizing the way fans engage with sports, further solidifying Riedel’s position as a trailblazer in communication and broadcasting technology.”

Photo Caption: Bundesliga Referee Daniel Schlager Wearing Riedel RefCam
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