Blog Sports

What Data and Insights Does Connected Ball Technology Provide?

Author: Daniel Linke, PhD

Adidas recently announced that the official ball for EURO 2024 will use connected ball technology at the men’s and women’s UEFA EURO tournaments. But what data and insights does this provide? 

Connected ball technology provides ball tracking information to referees, coaches, analysts, and fans.

The term Connected Ball Technology” gained recognition in 2022 as a specialized application of KINEXON’s ball tracking system, which is a joint effort involving adidas and FIFA, and is primarily used in several facets of sports: 

  • Officiating
  • Performance
  • Analysis
  • Fan engagement

KINEXON’s ball sensor is seamlessly incorporated into the ball through a suspension system, a technology that was developed and patented by adidas. 

Data and Insights Provided by Connected Ball Technology

Ball tracking is used to provide information for fans, officals, players, and media.

The data and insights that connected ball technology provide offer a range of benefits for different stakeholders in sports. Here are some of the main ones:

Officiating

For referees, it provides critical, precise data pinpointing the exact moment the ball is played. This precision is integral to support the referee’s decisions on many situations, including: 

  • Potential handball offenses
  • Fouls
  • Offsides

There are other situations that apply. These are just a few, but this significantly narrows the margin of error in such decisions. Moreover, it supplies referees with essential context for calls that are ambiguous in video footage, such as nuanced handball infractions. 

By streamlining the VAR review process with this additional layer of information, referees can make quicker, more accurate decisions, enhancing the integrity and fairness of the game. 

Players and Coaches

The data can help improve performance and reduce injuries by supplying feedback on the ball’s behavior and the team’s tactics. For example, the information can expose things like:

  • How fast the ball is moving
  • How often it is passed
  • How accurately it is shot
  • How much it spins
  • How the ball is circulated across the pitch by the team

Players and coaches can identify strengths and weaknesses, optimize strategies, and monitor progress.

Media and Broadcasters

For media and broadcasters, it enhances the live reporting and storytelling of the matches by providing new and exciting statistics and graphics. For example, the data can provide detailed information, including:

  • Dynamic trajectory and speed of the ball
  • Distance and angle of the shots
  • Number and location of passes
  • Impact and spin of the ball

These insights can help media and broadcasters create more engaging and informative content for the viewers. 

Fans and Spectators

It can create more immersive and interactive fan experiences by providing access to the live data and insights on the ball. For example, the data can provide many insights, including:

  • Show the ball’s position and motion on a virtual map
  • Additional info on freekicks such as flight curve, spin rate, speed, distance etc.
  • Immediate highlight stats on ball speed, pass lengths & more

This information helps fans and spectators enjoy the matches more and participate in gamification and social media activities.

René Prüßner, Head of Sports Science at KINEXON, provides insights into how ball tracking can expand evaluation across physical, tactical and technical aspects of football (soccer). In case you missed it:

Watch Video

Additional Benefits, Data and Insights

A connected ball is equipped with a sensor that sends signals to an anchor in the stadium and transmits information to coaches, analysts, referees, and fans.

Some of the additional data and insights that connected ball technology can provide include: 

  • Exact location of the ball on the field 
  • Impact (sensitive touch recognition) 
  • Possession, passes, shots, and goals of each team and player, as well as the accuracy and quality of these actions 
  • Use the data to develop and fine-tune practice and game plans
  • Media content creation can generate new stories for social media and website use

Ball tracking technology provides accurate, real-time, and valuable information in many different ways, and for all involved. 

Ball Tracking Technologies Are Becoming Essential

A ball tracking sensor emits signals to an anchor and the information is relayed to a dashboard for an analyst, referee, or fan to consume.

In fact, it’s already being used in professional football (soccer) and handball matches, and it has the potential to be applied to other sports and domains in the future. 

If you would like to learn more about KINEXON ball tracking, contact us at any time. Or watch our webinar: Data with Context: How Ball Data Transforms Subjective Impressions to Objective Measures,” by clicking the link below.

WATCH Webinar

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