TV coverage of the English Premier League is set for a real-time statistics revolution thanks to structural tracking technology

English Premier League coverage can be changed by having real-time stats appear on the screen during live matches on Sky Sports and BT Sport.

The Premier League has expanded its partnership with Genius Sport for a new sub-second skeleton tracking system that will show players’ running speed and other metrics that can be displayed on screen during live matches. The flow of stats, which is likely to be deeply divisive between football fans and traditionalists, can also include shooting speed.

The data, powered by Genius’s Second Spectrum technology already installed in every Premier League stadium, can be delivered to broadcasters in less than a second. This would give Sky Sports or BT Sport plenty of time to incorporate the data into their coverage as there is an 8-second delay before it reaches our TV screens. The company says the technology can also be used to power augmented and virtual reality applications.

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

Broadcasters will likely take the opportunity to put together real-time stats that show the running speed of a wing, or the speed of the ball as it hits the net. Viewers would probably accept it too, if the visuals weren’t distracting from the action in the real world.

“This partnership is an important next step in demonstrating how advanced data and technology can increase storytelling and fan engagement,” Mark Locke, CEO of Genius Sports, said in a blog post.

“Genius has strongly believed in this vision for many years, which is now a reality in partnership with Football DataCo and the Premier League. We are very excited to be working on solutions to improve the way millions of passionate fans around the world consume the most prestigious league in world football.”

Skeleton tracking technology can also be used to create a semi-automated offside system, which is what we’ve seen in the Champions League this season. It is able to create accurate 3D visualizations of the entire field by tracking every end of each player.

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