Technology has traditionally allowed fans to catch a new view of the action, but the Reading Fightin Phils (Class AA; Eastern League) are upping the ante with a drone camera. This season, the Fightin Phils are partnering with Weidenhammer to introduce an exclusive drone to FirstEnergy Field that will provide unique views of the ballpark and the game-day atmosphere.
With its ability to capture photos and videos from different vantage points, drone technology in baseball offers its advantages, but it has caused concerns in the past, ranging from the implications on the area around the ballpark to the effect it has on the game. Perhaps with this approach, however, the Fightin Phils can start a trend around the minors.
Before every home game this season, the drone will take off and capture video and photos of fans in the stands, as well as first pitches and other pre-game activities. It will be put to additional use on select nights this season, when it will focus on between-inning promotions and provide footage from pre-game workouts, including batting practice.
Fans will have ample opportunity to view drone footage and photos, as the Fightin Phils will publish images captured by the drone to social media throughout the season. The Reading Fightin Phils Drone Cam is a custom-made AVIC drone by Onuko.
“Thanks to Weidenhammer, we are introducing a state of the art drone to the fan experience,” said Fightins General Manager Scott Hunsicker. “Other teams might have drones, but no team will have anything with the capabilities of this Onuko AVIC. I mean, we can drop an iPhone in the back pocket of the Crazy Hot Dog Vendor, and have the drone fly 50 feet above his head at all times. How cool is that!”
Onuku Industries has designed a 450mm Quadcop Elite Series AVIC (Aerial Vehicle for Information Collection) for the Fightins. Onuku Industries, a company founded by three engineering graduates from Pennsylvania State University, sees the demand for high-end, customized drones that help to increase efficiency in a multitude of businesses and industries.
Weidenhammer Systems Corporation, founded in 1978, is a provider of information technology solutions for the commercial and education marketplace. In addition to its headquarters in Reading, PA, Weidenhammer maintains 5 branch offices in Pennsylvania, Michigan, and Colorado, and has 200 professionals on staff. The company has core competencies in consulting, software development, infrastructure solutions and managed services, as well as school district administrative solutions. Weidenhammer has strategic relationships with Cisco, Microsoft, HP, IBM, Nimble, Citrix and VMware.