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Mountain West Conference claims first with arena tech venture

The Mountain West Conference (MW) has said it will redefine the use of technology and instantaneous analytics across college sports in the US after forging a long-term partnership with ShotTracker.

A sensor-based system that delivers real-time statistics and analytics to teams, fans and broadcast networks, ShotTracker will provide basketball data tracking and analytics services during all conference basketball games through the 2023-24 season.

ShotTracker will install its system across 23 practice and game facilities at all 11 Mountain West schools for both men’s and women’s basketball programs. Each student-athlete will wear a ShotTracker player sensor and use the ShotTracker-enabled version of their school’s basketball provider.

The sensors track player and ball movement in real time, providing Mountain West programs with 70-plus unique statistics. This offers the Mountain West instantaneous data that no conference has unilaterally had access to before.

The MW and ShotTracker worked together during select 2018-19 regular season basketball games and the Men’s Basketball Championship at the Thomas & Mack Center in Las Vegas to test the technology. That pilot program prompted the Mountain West to become the first conference to integrate ShotTracker’s technology across men’s and women’s basketball programs for its conference games and practice facilities.

Mountain West senior associate commissioner, Dan Butterly, said: “Our coaches understand that real-time data, analytics and reporting are going to be invaluable for improving team performance. Our student-athletes will have access to post-practice and game analytics data that can help them better understand their specific performance and help them find ways to improve. Plus, Mountain West fans will, for the first time, have access to real-time analytics to better follow their favourite teams.”

Currently the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) doesn’t permit the transmission of data to the bench during game play. The conference-wide partnership with ShotTracker allows the Mountain West to submit a waiver request to the NCAA competition committee to get access to ShotTracker’s data and video on the bench during every conference game via the ShotTracker app.

ShotTracker has been involved in testing for teams to provide feedback to the NCAA as it relates to a possible change to this rule. The MW said bench access to ShotTracker’s team app could be granted to visiting non-conference teams who also approve the use of the system.

ShotTracker’s data is also provided to conference broadcast partners, offering commentators opportunities to integrate these statistics into their commentary. During the 2018-19 pilot, Mountain West broadcasts featured real-time shot charts, player spacing and ball movement metrics, as well as offensive and defensive trend comparison graphics that supported the announcer’s commentary live and during replays – all with sub-second latency.

ShotTracker president and co-founder, Davyeon Ross, said: “The Mountain West continues to stand out for being a pioneer in adopting the latest cutting-edge technologies. As the sports world continues to embrace technology, ShotTracker and the Mountain West have set a new standard for what teams and fans can expect for the speed and detail of basketball player tracking data. We know other conferences will soon follow their lead to ultimately increase on-court performance through our technology.”