MLS stadia fitted with data-tracking tech

Major League Soccer (MLS) has signed a multi-year partnership with Second Spectrum to fit state-of-the-art optical tracking technology at every stadium in the league.

As the league’s first official advanced tracking data provider, Second Spectrum will provide tracking for every match. The deal has been announced ahead of the start of the 2020 MLS season this weekend.

Second Spectrum has fitted its optical tracking system at every MLS stadium during the off-season. Its system leverages cameras and a cloud-based analytics engine to capture data on the location of players, referees and the ball 25 times per second.

The system uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the data and can be used to calculate player speed, acceleration, deceleration and shot velocity, as well as passing probability and expected goals.

The partnership will allow MLS to produced enhanced highlight videos on MLSsoccer.com and on its official app. The tracking data will also be integrated into game broadcasts in time.

Second Spectrum chief executive Rajiv Maheswaran said: “We’re incredibly excited to partner with MLS and its teams. The combination of our new technologies and capabilities with a forward-thinking organisation like MLS creates an exciting future of continued growth and innovation together.”

Chris Schlosser, senior vice-president of media for MLS, added: “MLS’ partnership with Second Spectrum sets a new standard for innovation in player-tracking in soccer. Along with Second Spectrum, MLS will deliver an enhanced new fan experience, bringing innovation to MLS content while providing MLS clubs and technical staff with new tools to enhance player performance.”

MLS will also collaborate with MGM Resorts International to create new fan engagement opportunities through an enhanced data feed for betting.

Image: MLS