Player tracking data provides new layers of relevant feedback for both casual fans and athletes looking to improve. Tracking technologies enhance the viewing experience for fans by letting them see where their favorite players are located on the field, and how they are performing physically, in real time. Tracking also makes replays on TV much more visually appealing. For athletes, in-depth player tracking data gives them insight into the things they need to work on to be elite competitors. The data wearable technologies provide can be compared against the tracking data to see where a person needs to improve to be on par with professional athletes.

Tech companies and sports organizations have started partnering to provide these innovative features to fans and athletes. Last month, the World Cup of Hockey announced its new partnership with Sportvision to provide player- and puck-tracking technologies at this year’s event. The NFL used tracking chips in footballs this preseason to calculate throwing speeds and other stats. The current adopters of these technologies are typically professional sports leagues, but soon we will see these innovations make their way to universities and youth organizations.

There are several safety related applications for player tracking data as well. In contact sports, impacts can be measured to keep players safer and to let coaches and trainers know whether a player may have a concussion or other injuries. The St. Louis Cardinals recently expanded injury prevention efforts in an attempt to keep players healthy and on the field. With the focus on brain injuries and the quality of life after athletes’ careers are over, it makes sense for leagues to utilize player tracking and smart devices to research these controversial topics and perhaps take steps toward preventing harm.

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