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Premier League TV coverage set for real-time stats revolution thanks to skeletal tracking tech

Premier League football coverage could be transformed by real-time statistics appearing on screen during live games on Sky Sports and BT Sport.

The Premier League has expanded its partnership with Genius Sport for a new sub-second skeletal tracking system that’d show players’ running speed and other metrics that could be displayed on screen during live games. The influx of stats, which would likely be highly divisive among football fans and traditionalists, could also include shot velocity.

The data, powered by Genius’ Second Spectrum technology already installed at every Premier League ground, could be delivered to broadcasters in under a second. That would give Sky Sports or BT Sport plenty of time to integrate data within their coverage as there’s an 8-second delay before it hits our TV screens. The tech could also be used to power AR and VR applications, the company says.

Shot velocity, speed and distance are already tracked by the Premier League, but the new tech will enable greater accuracy, more data points and faster transmission of that data to enable integration within live coverage .

The broadcasters would likely jump at the chance to layer real-time stats showing a winger’s running speed, or the speed of the ball as it hits the net. Viewers would probably embrace it too, if the visualisations weren’t too distracting from the on-field action.

“This partnership is an important next step in demonstrating the way data and advanced technology can amplify storytelling and fan engagement,” said Mark Locke, Genius Sports chief executive in a blog post.

“Genius has believed deeply in this vision for many years, which is now becoming a reality in partnership with Football DataCo and the Premier League. We’re incredibly excited to work on solutions to enhance how the most popular league in world soccer is consumed by millions of passionate fans worldwide.”

The skeletal tracking tech could also be used to create a semi-automated offside system, which we’ve seen in the Champions League this season. It’s capable to creating accurate 3D visualisations of the entire field by tracking every limb on each of the players.

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