GoPro Inc: More Opportunities Seen In Pro Sports

GoPro Inc: More Opportunities Seen In Pro Sports
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Putting GoPro cameras on the helmets of athletes during games is a safety issue that could be solved with the use of drones

GoPro is (for now anyway) the definitive brand when it comes to action cameras, and there’s been a lot of debate about just how big the niche will be. So far the company hasn’t even begun to tap into a key potential market—one that’s akin to the enterprise market Apple and BlackBerry are battling for in the smartphone market.

But how could this be done?

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A new market for GoPro

Josh Hoffert of Sport Techie suggests that GoPro could boost sales by getting its cameras into the four most popular professional sports in the U.S. Sports fans buy massive, pricey 4K TVs for the purpose of seeing their favorite teams on TV in pictures that are as close to being in the stadium as possible.

But what if the players were wearing GoPro cameras on their heads or helmets? It’s certainly an interesting idea, and it’s one sports fans would love. The use of in-car cameras in NASCAR races suggests just how popular head-mounted cameras could be. Hoffert suggests GoPro cameras could also be used to provide new camera views in and around racecars.

GoPro cameras in the NHL

The NHL, the NFL and Major League Baseball are perhaps the three professional sports leagues that could most easily attach GoPro cameras to the players’ helmets. This would provide fans with first-person views of the play so they can see what their favorite players are seeing during the game.

GoPro has already struck a deal with the NHL to place its cameras on the heads of the referees, which could be a doorway to wider usage among the players. According to Hoffert, the NHL is already using some pre-recorded footage from GoPro cameras worn by NHL players and weaving that in with the rest of the NHL coverage.

Problems with player GoPro cameras

Of course one problem with putting them on players’ heads is the violence that tends to accompany hockey, and the same is true with the NFL, as the cameras could easily get destroyed in a tackle or by being hit by a flying puck. However, GoPro would do well to solve this problem so that use of its cameras could be expanded throughout the professional sports leagues.

There’s also another, even bigger issue involving safety and performance, as explained by GoPro Marketing Vice President Paul Crandell last month. He called the idea of putting cameras on players’ helmets a “sensitive topic” because they don’t want the cameras to “prohibit any performance.”

Drones using GoPro cameras?

Hoffert suggests that the major sports leagues could use drones carrying GoPro cameras instead of putting them on the players to solve the safety issues while also providing new close-ups inside the sports action. However, the use of drones would mean that GoPro wouldn’t have the corner on the market that it would by finding a way to put them on the players.

A new drone being developed by Krossblade Aerosystems could offer the perfect answer, and it comes with its own camera, although third-party cameras like those made by GoPro could easily replace the camera. Indeed, if GoPro could strike a deal with a couple of drone makers, it would benefit greatly, not only in professional sports—if the leagues adopt the use of drones—but everywhere else drones are being used.

As of this writing, shares of GoPro were up by 0.95% to $44.39 per share.

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