Nippon TV's Umpire Cam could make its official debut during tonight's game between the Softbank Hawks and Yomiuri Giants (at Tokyo Dome). The NPB has already give Nippon TV the green light, but the home plate ump will ultimately decide if he wants to wear the camera or not. And that will largely depend on whether or not he feels it'll get in the way of his work behind the plate.
If the home plate ump is ok with wearing the camera, it'll be put to use in the 6th and 7th innings. Footage from the camera will also be limited to replays during the TV broadcast of the game.
Nippon TV started working on the Umpire Cam in December last year. They also sat down with the NPB and the umpires to exchange ideas on the concept. A trial run during a bullpen session was completed in February this year (with the cooperation of the Yomiuri Giants) and a full test was made during an exhibition game in March. In each instance, there were no major issues with Umpire Cam.
The first baseball game broadcast was carried by NHK on 8/23/1953 (Hankyu Braves vs Mainichi Orions). 25 years later, in 1978, Nippon TV started using a camera that was placed beyond the CF walls (up until then, most camera were placed behind home plate). When the CF camera was originally used, there was concern that teams might try to watch the broadcasts in order to steal signs and pitch locations, but that never really became an issue. Nippon TV is now trying to mix things up again with the introduction of the Umpire Cam.