Channel Nine and the NRL have announced a partnership with performance analytics company Catapult to broadcast player data live during the State of Origin series.
The partnership will draw on data obtained from Catapult’s wearable local positioning system (LPS) technology, and will be used to provide fan engagement content for games during the three game origin series.
Catapult’s devices are being used by both the Queensland Maroons and New South Wales Blues, measuring metrics including speed, distance covered, intensity, and showing heat maps of where players have been on the field, with Alston Elliot providing the graphics to bring the metrics to life.
Alex Rolls, head of creative and innovation at Nine’s Wide World of Sports, commented: “Here at Wide World of Sports we try to bring our viewers as close to the action as possible. The Telstra Tracker is another innovation we’re very proud of. Live player tracking is no easy feat, but we believe our audience will gain greater insight into what it takes to be an Origin athlete. Our thanks to all parties who bring this to life – a truly co-operative effort.”
Catapult’s technology made its live television debut in 2017 on Channel Nine, with player statistics broadcast to viewers, a first for Australian technology and rugby league broadcasting.
NRL general manager of digital, football product development, Luke Gooden, said a lot of work has gone into ensuring this initiative provides a greater understanding of the athleticism our players possess on the biggest stage.
“Through our broadcast partner Channel 9 and NRL.com we have looked to provide insights and storytelling that enhance the entertainment experience. With cutting edge technology this is always a complex process. We would like to thank Channel Nine, Telstra, NSWRL, QRL and the RLPA for bringing this to life.
“This is the second year of the Telstra Tracker and the expectations are to always provide even greater insights. We’re excited to do that during the 2018 Holden State of Origin series. The opportunity to answer which player is the fastest or to understand how a team scores a try in a new way is compelling content.”
Newly-installed ClearSky technology at the MCG uses localised sensors to give high-quality data, generating more than 1000 live data points per second, with the positioning information accurate to within 15cm.
Joe Powell, chief executive officer of Catapult, added: “We are delighted to be partnering with the NRL and Channel Nine for the second year in a row. The opportunities that live data can bring are only just beginning, and we are proud to be at the forefront of the future of live engagement for fans.”
Catapult Sports continues to expand its portfolio of clubs and rights holders across sport, with recent deals including the Egyptian FA and Scottish Rugby. Earlier this month also saw the launch of PLAYR, a new consumer-focussed football product that combines GPS technology with personalised sports science advice to help improve performance.