Forget the JumboTron - Startup YinzCam Gives Fans Control Over Replays - Center for Technology Transfer and Enterprise Creation - Carnegie Mellon University

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Forget the JumboTron - Startup YinzCam Gives Fans Control Over Replays

Name: YinzCAM

Quick Pitch: Use YinzCAM apps to select camera angles and replays when you watch professional sporting events in-arena.

Genius Idea: When founder Priya Narasimhan moved to Pittsburgh in 2001, she quickly became an avid football and hockey fan. There was just one problem:

“There would always be a tall guy who would stand up in front of me who would cut off my view of the goal or the touchdown, and then the JumboTron guy decided how I should see the replay,” she says. “And I thought both things were unfair.”

Being associate professor of electrical and computer engineering at Carnegie Mellon University, however, she was qualified to fix the problem. YinzCam, the academic project that Narasimhan launched as a business last year, allows fans at sporting events to control personal video feeds through their mobile devices. After they download the app, fans can select which camera view they would like to see (Narasimhan’s 4-year-old son, for instance, wants to keep track of the mascot at all times). They can also watch a replay of every play from any of the angles.

YinzCam debuted at the first home game of the Pittsburgh Penguins 2009 season. At the first game, about 10 fans tuned in. But by the last game, more than 55% of the pilot audience was using the app. The success has persuaded five other NFL and NHL teams to join in — including the Pittsburgh Steelers, the San Francisco 49ers, and the Washington Capitals.

It’s a manner of minimal investment for sports teams to install the system. There’s a flat fee for licensing the YinzCam software, but most stadiums already have multiple cameras and Wi-Fi that can be used to create the experience. Unlike some other in-stadium video experiences, fans carry in their own viewing devices — there’s no need for the stadium to purchase them.

In addition to the flat licensing fee, YinzCam also plans to collect a share of any of the advertising teams decide to sell on the app. Since the app is able to collect valuable information about the user, like which plays they tend to watch and even their favorite players, it’s likely that this will also develop into a formidable revenue source. Verizon, for instance, has decided to sponsor the Pittsburgh Penguins app this season.

The company hasn’t sought funding yet, but Narasimhan says that it might consider doing so when it’s ready to grow. Possibilities for expansion include improving the out-of-stadium viewing experience or applying technology to other aspects of the game.

Article Courtesy of Mashable / Startups