Washington Mystics’ Interactive Multicam Live Mobile App Puts Fans in the Director’s Chair
For the past few years, the Washington Mystics have been one of the WNBA’s leaders in commitment to live video production and fan-engagement strategies. This season, the team is taking that innovative spirit to the next level with the introduction of Mystics Live, an interactive live multicamera and data mobile app.
The app integrates three key features into one package that allows fans to customize the way they watch a Mystics game. The interface makes five isolated camera angles available, in addition to the general program feed. The user can select which angles to watch and essentially cut their own show. Instant replays are also interactive, with the user able to call up replays from any of the available angles in full screen. The app also brings in a traditional second-screen layer with live team and player stats.
Mystics Live was developed by Kiswe Mobile, a start-up tech company founded by a trio that includes Jeong Kim, a partner at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the group that owns the Verizon Center in Washington, DC, and its tenants the Washington Capitals, Wizards, and Mystics.
“What we really wanted to do was do something new and innovative in the connection between mobile, social, and TV,” says Wim Sweldens, co-founder and CEO of Kiswe Mobile. “This is a very innovative space, and there’s a lot of ideas floating around, but we see a nice connection between video, which is traditionally a first-screen experience, and stats, which is a second-screen experience. Bringing them together is the novelty of our approach.”
The content supplier of the app is Kitay Productions, a local video-production company that produces live Mystics broadcasts for TV and the Web.
NBA franchises are required by the NBA to provide — at minimum — a three-camera Webcast of all home games, using a league-provided flypack kit that includes three cameras, a NewTek TriCaster, and a NewTek 3Play. The Mystics went above and beyond, enlisting Kitay Productions, which has added its own gear and crew to supplement the production. As a result, Mystics games, in addition to streaming at NBA.com, are commonly picked up by the local Comcast SportsNet channel and NBA TV.
“They brought us in about four years ago and told us to turn this into a real broadcast that Comcast SportsNet or other entities will want to carry,” says Joel Kitay, founder of Kitay Productions. “This is a legit TV broadcast. It looks like regional-sports-network–level basketball.”
Using Kiswe’s cloud-based technology, video feeds are pulled directly from each of the cameras deployed on the live production, and those feeds are available throughout the entire game.
“You can think of it as a video browser,” says Sweldens. “Today, when you watch TV, it’s a one-directional medium. On a browser, you’re clicking around, and it’s very interactive. So we wanted to look at the notion of watching an event, particularly a live event, which is traditionally a passive experience, and combine that with a more interactive experience, where a fan can follow a certain player or a certain angle. We want them to make their choices.”
The Mystics Live app is available in the Apple App Store, requires iOS 7.0 or newer, and is compatible with iPhone, iPad, and iPod touch. An Android version is expected to be ready later this month.