ESPN's sports technology writer Zach McCann writes about SportVU Hoops Tracking System, used by ten NBA teams this year. Will this new technology revolutionize basketball?
SportVU tells us, with relative certainty, which player has the fastest top speed in the NBA. It tells us not who scores the most, but who scores the most per touch. It tells us who dribbles the most per game, and who dribbles the most compared to how many shots they take. And that’s just the surface.
There are six computer vision cameras set up along the catwalk of the arena -- three per half court. These cameras are synched with complex algorithms extracting x, y and z positioning data for all objects on the court, capturing 25 pictures per second.
Each picture is time-stamped and automatically processed by a computer, which connects the data to the play-by-play feed and delivers a report within 90 seconds of a play. This is the part of the process the STATS people are so proud of – the proprietary algorithms in the software, which they call the ICE Platform.
Almost instantly, coaches and stat guys have this information at their disposal on their computer or iPad.