Israeli startup to give fans a referee’s-eye view at the EuroLeague final games

In first, referees will wear MindFly’s bodycam to capture a first-person view of games for fans to watch, hear and experience everything basketball players do on court

Sharon Wrobel is a tech reporter for The Times of Israel.

Israeli sports startup MindFly has an agreement with EuroLeague, Europe’s top tier basketball competition, to fit players and referees with its AI bodycams and give the fans a first person view of everything they do on the court. (Courtesy)
Israeli sports startup MindFly has an agreement with EuroLeague, Europe’s top tier basketball competition, to fit players and referees with its AI bodycams and give the fans a first person view of everything they do on the court. (Courtesy)

Sports fans watching the EuroLeague Final Four, Europe’s top-tier basketball competition, this weekend will be able to get as close of a view of the players in action as the referee gets.

For the first time, referees at the EuroLeague’s semifinals and finals starting on May 19 will be wearing an AI-powered lightweight bodycam developed by Israeli sports startup MindFly. The bodycams are tailored to capture a fully immersive match experience that provides video and audio streams and feeds that the startup says reproduces the closest fans can get to being on the court itself. The clips that are created will be uploaded to the EuroLeague’s official website and distributed on social networks after the matches.

“The videos we produce for EuroLeague events should generate immense interest among basketball enthusiasts,” said MindFly CEO Eran Tal. “Our technology enhances the experience for passionate viewers and fans who want to follow every possible angle of all the action on the court, especially during decisive game-changing moments.”

In the first semifinal match of the EuroLeague Final Four in Kaunas, Lithuania, on Friday, Olympiacos will face AS Monaco and in the second match, FC Barcelona will face Real Madrid. The final match will take place on May 21.

MindFly’s first person point of view (FPV) technology lets fans watch, hear, and experience everything players and referees do on court. The lightweight bodycams, which are embedded in vests worn by players or referees under a jersey, use image stabilization technology similar to a Steadicam to mitigate shakiness, and are AI-powered to follow the action. The device is connected to an AI cloud platform that stabilizes, edits, and distributes ready-to-publish video clips, replays and livestreams to social channels for fans to watch them.

MindFly was founded in early 2021 by Tal and Yehuda Elmaliah, who serves as the startup’s CTO. Previously Tal managed and established a number of startups in the video field, including Evrideo, Goopi.tv, and Individual.tv. Elmaliah is one of the founders of Nasdaq-listed Optibase and the founder of Mobixell, which was acquired by Flash Networks.

The Tel Aviv-based startup employs 12 people in Tel Aviv and Barcelona. To date, MindFly has raised about $2.5 million from I-Lab Angels and a group of private investors led by venture capitalist Lior Elkayam.

Among MindFly’s clients are a number of EuroLeague teams including Monaco, Žalgiris, Panathinaikos, Fenerbahçe, and Bayern Munich. The startup’s soccer clients include Manchester City, Napoli, Newcastle, Sparta Prague, and Galatasaray. MindFly also works with broadcasting entities like DAZN, Globo, and T-Mobile, to develop the next-generation of live broadcasting with 5G.

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