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How KINEXON Technology Contributes to the Restart in German Professional Sports

The German Football Bundesliga resumed its operations on May 16th, 2020 as the world’s first top league during the COVID-19 crisis. After that, the top German Basketball League followed suit. KINEXON technology is used by both leagues and gives a glimpse into what is possible.

Kinexon Safezone Football Stadium with gameplay
MunichJun 08, 2020

The safety concepts of the DFL and BBL are fundamentally different due to the different basic conditions. However, they have one thing in common: KINEXON technology is used in both leagues and contributes to the protection of the staff members within the venues. 

For a few years now, KINEXON has been one of the world’s leading providers in the field of real-time sports data collection and analysis.

In the beginning, our UWB-based tracking technology was mainly used for performance monitoring. Nevertheless, more and more use cases have emerged, adding value to professional sports not only from a performance point of view, but also financially — through strong fan engagement.

The COVID-19 crisis has accelerated this development. We can see that top sports leagues embrace the advantages of digital technology. The awareness is growing. 

Three current use cases of KINEXON technology in top sports provide evidence for this statement:

1. A wearable enables a protected return to game operations compliant with data protection regulations

In order to salvage revenue and secure the existence of clubs and leagues, the resumption of operations was essential. Although the top priority is to protect the health of all staff members contributing to the execution of a gameday.

With KINEXON SafeZone, we have created a light wearable that addresses the two most pressing challenges of our daily working life with digital precision, in times of COVID-19:

  1. A UWB sensor alerts in case the minimum distance is not maintained. The technology is free of interference and centimeter-accurate. (“Contact Warning”)
  2. An optional software update clearly identifies, which employees must be informed in the event of contact with an infected person (“Contact Tracing” or Exposure Management”). Both are 100% compliant with data protection regulations. There is no tracking of the movements of the wearer or storing of personal data in any way!
Kinexon Sensor Tags and Tablet

The German Football Bundesliga club, Eintracht Frankfurt, additionally implemented a zoning” concept by using KINEXON SafeZone. Areas of the stadium were divided into three zones according to the DFL hygiene concept. For each zone it is clearly defined how many people are allowed to stay in it and for how long they can remain. KINEXON SafeZone monitored whether this requirement is being met and where there is potential for improvement.

In German professional basketball, the SafeTag” is being used for contact tracing. A tournament compressed into three weeks will decide the championship. In order to make it easier to protect all participants, all of the matches will take place at one basketball stadium: the Audi Dome in Munich.

Even so, the Munich health authorities found a major weakness in the general advantage of a one-hotel-concept: if there were to be a COVID-19 case in the hotel, everyone in it would have to be sent into quarantine — and the tournament would be cancelled.

The public health department suggested two different solutions to solve the problem. The participants either had to permanently wear a mask within the hotel or a digital solution for effective contact tracing had to be implemented. With KINEXON SafeZone, the choice was easy. SafeZone provides a comfortable modern solution.

2. Live data replaces the live experience in digital form

A loss caused by COVID-19 that cannot be compensated for in sports is the fan. Due to the current ban on mass gathering events, fans worldwide are locked out.

Live performance data is currently in great demand. This innovation enables fans, who are forced to stay at home and are not able to participate live at the stadium, to have authentic and engagement experiences. KINEXON is the first and so far only provider to offer ball and player tracking and the corresponding live data processing from a single source.

For the first time ever, media, sponsors and teams all have the possibility to integrate real-time information into reporting. Information that was previously only available to fans after the match or not at all, is now readily accessible.

Speed, distance, jump height, passing distances and around 180 other metrics may not replace watching from inside the venue, but they still convey a gripping impression of the impressive performances of the players.

Through the digital integration of this live performance data in interactive second screen applications, the enhancement of the broadcast, or through innovative AR applications, the game can be experienced from home in an unprecedented way — a true gift for the loyal fan!

3. Data-based load management protects players during compressed match schedules

More than 75% of the NBA teams use KINEXON technology. One of the key objectives that are pursued by the usage is load management.

This means: the physical load of a player is to be recorded in real-time in metrics based on sports science (e.g. Metabolic Load, Internal Load, External Load or TRIMP). As a result, coaches and support staff will immediately give the player a break as soon as these metrics show an indication of exhaustion or an increased risk of injury.

Overload injuries can thus be significantly reduced. This is beneficial in more ways than one a time when games are played in a tournament-style (easycredit Basketball Bundesliga) or other intensive rhythms.

The reduced risk of injury pays off for the player as well as the success of clubs and leagues.

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