STATS Acquires SportVU in Effort to Gather More Statistics, New Data

By Ken Kerschbaumer

STATS LLC has acquired SportVU, a Tel Aviv-based company that specializes in automated ID and motion capture technology in a move designed to add more statistical data to STATS and, eventually, tie more statistics to players and objects on the screen. “We’re looking to take the data they collect and combine with the power of what we already offer,” says Brian Kopp, STATS VP of Strategic Planning. “It’s another layer of data we can capture and take into other media.”

SportVU was most recently involved with CNN’s Holgram technology that debuted on Election Night, providing the data that was pumped into Vizrt workstations and, in turn, created the 3D images. SportVU technology optical tracking technology is currently used by European football leagues and cricket leagues in Europe and Mexico to gather information like the speed of players and balls on the pitch, length of shots, and other information.

“For soccer and cricket SportVU installs three sensors in the venue that track the X, Y, and Z coordinates of an object 16 times per second,” says Kopp. Players, referees, balls, sticks, and bats can all be listed as an object and data can then be gathered with respect to the object.

“That data is then translated into statistics and calculate things like the amount of time a player sprints versus jogging or walking, time of possession, and more,” says Kopp. “It’s all in realtime as it generates the data within one frame of an event occurring.”

In Mexico, for example, the system is used to give soccer fans a radar view of the pitch with each player represented by a small dot on the screen. “That way viewers can see where players are even though the players are not covered by the TV cameras,” says Kopp.

STATS intends to develop similar systems for U.S. sports like basketball, baseball, and American football. Broadcasters could tie more data to on-screen action while teams and leagues could use it for player analysis. “STATSVu is graphics engine and platform agnostic,” says Kopp of future developments with other companies like RedBee who are current partners.

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