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The Spectacles made it into the sports world.

Snap Inc., formerly known as Snapchat, has caused a stir with its new camera-embedded sunglasses that are only available on a limited basis via pop-up vending machines.

The Minnesota Wild managed to get its hands on a pair and became the first NHL squad to test the device during Wednesday’s game versus Winnipeg.

The Wild, which partnered with marketing agency space150 for the experiment, pushed out a variety of fun content by utilizing the $130 Spectacles, which have a small camera on the upper right part of the glasses that allows users to easily film 10-second clips of whatever they are looking at. Video filmed with the WiFi- and Bluetooth-enabled Spectacles automatically upload to a smartphone and can be shared to Snapchat followers.

Photo via Minnesota Wild.
Katlyn Gambill, social media coordinator for the Wild, dons the Spectacles. Photo via Minnesota Wild.

Katlyn Gambill, social media coordinator for the Wild, wore the glasses as she walked around the arena before the game. This video shows some of the recorded content, which the Wild pushed to social media, that ranged from the morning warmups, locker room views, players walking out to the rink, riding on the zamboni, and more.

Even Nordy, the Wild’s mascot, tried on the glasses as he shot the t-shirt cannon.

Greg Swan, vice president of brand innovation for space150, told GeekWire that using the Spectacles was an “amazing experience.”

“Snapchat Spectacles give followers a first-person perspective to social video we’ve only ever seen with expensive equipment or time-intensive processing required,” he said. “With Spectacles, anyone can record a first-person point-of-view and share through Snapchat instantly.”

Phil Ervin, digital managing editor and content strategist for the Wild, said that the Spectacles provided a “cool, new point-of-view that was really simple to execute.”

So will Spectacles be a game-changer for sports teams looking to give fans more behind-the-scenes content on social media? One advantage is that marketing staffers don’t need to hold a smartphone to record video. It’s also easy to hand the specs to someone like the team mascot and offer up unique POV perspectives.

Chip Dean first joined ESPN in 1979. Now he's the coordinating director for the Monday Night Football production.
Chip Dean is the coordinating director for ESPN’s Monday Night Football production. Photo by Kevin Lisota / GeekWire.

But the Wild’s experiment seems like a preview of what would be really cool — if players or coaches could wear the glasses. That’s not realistic, given that they are sunglasses and would look a little ridiculous. But can you imagine if there were embedded cameras in jerseys or helmets, allowing fans to see exactly what the players are experiencing before, during, and after a game?

I talked about this with Chip Dean, coordinating director for Monday Night Football and a 37-year ESPN veteran, while GeekWire toured the MNF production set in Seattle earlier this month. He compared it to how NASCAR places cameras inside driver vehicles so fans can get an up-close look at the action.

“Every viewer wants to be in the huddle and next to a player,” Dean said. “At some point, when that technology is safer, smaller, and more reliable, then maybe it will go in that direction with the support of the leagues.”

This is also something Los Angeles Clippers owner Steve Ballmer noted at the GeekWire Sports Tech Summit in July.

“The real opportunity is to, if you will, augment reality as people are watching the game,” Ballmer said. “Can you put yourself in the position of Blake Griffin? What does the game in question look like in real time from his perspective? Can you sit on the shoulders of Chris Paul or DeAndre Jordan or even someone who plays for the other team? Can we allow you to do that?”

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