Could Catapult data showcased on live NBL broadcasts eventually come to NBA games?

Tuesday February 14th, 2017

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Australia’s National Basketball League has begun displaying graphics during live broadcasts of games that feature Catapult analytics tracking player movement and workload.

In a game between the Cairns Taipans and Perth Wildcats last month, a graphic appeared on the screen that showed for each player Catapult’s PlayerLoad metric — a number that provides an objective measure of exertion and workload including micro-movements that is not dependent on distance traveled. Another graphic showed the summary of a player’s percentage time spent performing at high intensity, mid intensity and low intensity.

The use of the data for broadcasts purpose came out of the three-year partnership that the NBL and Catapult announced in October. As part of the agreement, Catapult technology would be used to track NBL players across all clubs for game-day sessions in addition to practices. The deal also provided for the analytics to be used live for media and broadcast purposes.

According to Catapult, the NBL partnership is a global showcase for opportunities to work with leagues and monetize data for fan engagement.

So could Catapult, which currently provides technology for a number of NBA teams for use during practices, one day see its data come to NBA broadcasts?

Catapult Sports ClearSky and Optimeye systems are among the devices that NBA teams can request their players use on a voluntary basis in practice. But according to the NBA and NBPA collective bargaining agreement, NBA players may not use wearable devices in games, and no player data collected from a device worn at the request of a team can be made available to the public or used for any commercial purpose.

Of course, this could very well change in the future.

“The parties agree to continue to discuss in good faith the use of Wearables in games and the commercialization of data from Wearables,” according to the agreement.

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