The European Handball Federation has claimed a first for European sport with the launch of new tracking technology that will enable the distribution of data in real time during its Champions League club competition.
During this year’s Champions League Final4 stage, all games will feature the Select/Kinexon iBall, which will provide information such as ball speed, shot detection, shot position and placement of the ball on target.
The initiative will give fans the chance to observe the speed of the ball and the distance from goal for every shot in the game. The shot distribution on court from a team or specific player will also be displayed during broadcasters’ and digital channels’ coverage of the competition.
Additionally, the position of every shot entering the goal will be displayed, illustrating scoring strategies. The information is detected automatically and in real time and it is hoped the initiative will step up fan engagement levels around the Final4.
The initiative has been launched as part of a collaboration between EHF Marketing, Select and Kinexon that dates back to January 2016. Kinexon specialises in technological solutions for the sports industry, while Select is a leading producer of handballs and an official supplier for the EHF.
David Szlezak, managing director of EHF Marketing, said: “The iBall is an important step into the digital future of European handball. The data we are collecting allows us and media partners to better explain the fast and dynamic sport of handball and provides a new dimension to storytelling around sport.
“We are delighted to present this world premiere on the highest possible level of club handball and are convinced that fans and media partners will love this new level of sports data.”
Kinexon chief executive Maximilian Schmidt added: “At Kinexon we aim at providing new insights to the great sport of handball. With the iBall we provide automated, real-time ball-related statistics to all spectators at the EHF Final4. By being able to see the speed of the ball or the 3D placement of shots, fans have the opportunity to see their beloved sport from completely new and fascinating angles.
“By partnering with Select, we provide a handball fulfilling the highest level of quality. In combination with our innovative sensor technology, we are able to automatically generate new content on sports performance. Hereby, we hope to bring spectators closer to game and feel more engaged with the action on the court.”