New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the season opener last night. His team's stadium had special cameras installed. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the season opener last night. His team's stadium had special cameras installed. New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady at the season opener last night. His team's stadium had special cameras installed. (Photo: Maddie Meyer / Getty Images)

2017 NFL season kicks off new fan experience

High-tech FreeD cameras installed in 11 cities give fans viewing at home an immersive experience.

Watching your favorite team play football on your 60-inch big screen TV with a bag of chips and a bottle of beer ... it doesn't get much better than that. Well now, thanks to new high-tech cameras, the viewing experience is set to get a whole lot better.

A few years back an Israeli startup called Replay Technologies invented something called a "FreeD" camera. FreeD (short for "free dimensional video") allows fans to see a replay from every possible angle in slow motion, and the resulting visual effect looks like something straight out of the "Matrix" trilogy.

U.S.-based Intel acquired the Israeli company last year and has now installed the special camera system into 11 football stadiums across the country. In this video below from a preseason game between the Houston Texans and the New England Patriots, you get a glimpse of what all the fuss is about.

Building on existing installations at the home stadiums of the Baltimore Ravens, Houston Texans and San Francisco 49ers, Intel worked with eight NFL teams, adding one FreeD technology-enabled stadium to each division in the AFC and NFC.

The eight new stadiums equipped with FreeD include the homes of the following NFL clubs:

  • Arizona Cardinals
  • Carolina Panthers
  • Cleveland Browns
  • Indianapolis Colts
  • Kansas City Chiefs
  • Minnesota Vikings (site of Super Bowl LII)
  • New England Patriots
  • Washington Redskins

The cameras are installed at the stadium for the Minnesota Vikings.The new cameras are installed at the stadium for the Minnesota Vikings. (Photo: Intel)

“By expanding FreeD to more teams across the NFL, we’re empowering fans to see every side of the play and relive the excitement of game-changing moments,” said James Carwana, general manager of Intel Sports. “During Super Bowl LI, fans experienced a pivotal play from the quarterback’s point of view. Seeing key plays up close and from new perspectives is redefining what it means to watch the game.”

The installation of the new cameras is part of a trend of high-tech Israeli-made tools being used in U.S. sports arenas. At the beginning of the 2016-2017 basketball season, for example, the Golden State Warriors installed a SmartCourt system in their training facility from Israel-based PlaySight Interactive. The team went on to win the NBA championship.

Chen Shachar, a graduate of the Technion Institute of Technology in Israel, is PlaySight's co-founder and CEO. "The system is being used in every practice session," he said. "What the technology gives the Golden State Warriors and other NBA teams is the ability to record every practice, every move from different angles so they can break down the game, providing instant replay, so they can work on player development and maximize the team's performance."

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