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NBA Reaches Deal To Install Stats' SportVU Motion Tracking System Leaguewide
Published September 5, 2013
MILLIONS OF PICTURES PER GAME: The WALL STREET JOURNAL's Ben Cohen reports the six cameras that will be used "record the coordinates of players, referees and the ball 25 times per second, creating millions of geospatial data points per games for front-office wonks to study." The NBA and Stats also are "discussing whether some outside groups, such as university academics who have used the numbers to illuminate their basketball research, will keep their access to the data." Hellmuth said, "Some of the work that's been done over the past couple of years with outside groups has been of great interest. We're only interested in adding to the conversation" (WSJ.com, 9/5).
SYSTEM TO MONITOR REFS: GRANTLAND's Zach Lowe wrote the potential impact on "our understanding of the game, of its X's-and-O's, is fascinating." The NBA is the first U.S. league "to invest this heavily in motion-tracking," but the cameras will "touch on lots of other areas of profound importance to basketball's future that have gotten short shrift amid the hoops-related curiosity." The system will enhance the league's "ability to monitor referees -- always a touchy subject." The cameras are the "most precise way to grade the three on-court officials based on how consistently and early they get into the league's three set positions ... and whether they make appropriate calls from those positions based on the exact sight lines." Hellmuth said, "We will use whatever data and means we can to improve our referees. The refs haven't been tracked before. Now for the first time, they will be." Hellmuth and Stats Exec VP Brian Kopp believe the cameras can "bring the next step in the reinvention of the box score, and that the NBA can popularize that reinvention by putting new numbers in front of fans" (GRANTLAND.com, 9/4).