NBA To Unveil Player Tracking Technology
By Phillip Pyle
Credit: USA Today Sports Images
The NBA and STATS LLC today announced they have expanded their partnership to install STATS’ SportVU Player Tracking technology in every NBA arena beginning with the 2013-14 season. The multiyear agreement will make the NBA the first major U.S. professional sports league to quantify and analyze every movement of live game action throughout the entire season.
As the Official Player Tracking Partner of the NBA, STATS’ SportVU – a system of six cameras and STATS’ proprietary software – will be used by all 30 NBA teams during games to calibrate and measure the movements of all players and the ball on the court. The groundbreaking system will provide a continuous stream of innovative statistics based around speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession for detailed and targeted analysis of players and teams.
The NBA Game Time app, NBA.com and NBA TV will use SportVU player tracking data, enhancing the league’s current statistical offerings and providing fans with the most comprehensive breakdown of every game.
“We are a league driven by data, and our expanded partnership with STATS provides our teams and fans with access to uncover groundbreaking statistics,” said Steve Hellmuth, NBA Executive Vice President of Operations and Technology. “In this new era of statistical information, SportVU will be an invaluable resource for basketball executives and our passionate fans.”
“STATS is proud to partner with the NBA to provide a whole new perspective on the sport through state-of-the art player tracking data for every game. With SportVU, the new vernacular of the NBA will be speed profiles, offensive play types, defensive matchups and court coverage maps,” said STATS CEO Gary Walrath. “We look forward to growing with the NBA and expanding the use of SportVU.”
Teams can pay up to $40,000 extra to purchase (among other goodies) software that helps track a player’s physical exertion. The in-game cameras represent one piece of that. They can tell you how fast a player runs, how often he accelerates on cuts, how often those accelerations end with him reaching top speed, and the height of a player’s release point on jump shots.
The other pieces, and perhaps the most important ones in determining a player’s condition, come outside those 82 games and require the use of other forms of technology: sleep and heart-rate monitors, GPS devices and accelerometers players can wear during practice, and the careful tracking of weightlifting, diet, and other day-to-day stuff. Put all that data together, and you can get a fairly complete picture of a player’s condition, and of how indicators of his condition — running speed, jumping ability, etc. — change over the course of a season.
“This is where you can start to measure fatigue,” says Brian Kopp, executive vice-president at STATS.
Teams like the Houston Rockets will undoubtedly use the player tracking system for pr
The NBA’s use of SportVU enhances a long-standing partnership between the NBA and STATS. STATS has been the league’s Official Data Distribution Partner since 2006, disseminating complete NBA, WNBA and NBA Development League statistical information to broadcast, print and online outlets around the world.