EHF, SELECT & KINEXON bring iBall and ball tracking to VELUX EHF FINAL4
The final event of the VELUX EHF Champions League is set to become the first major event in European sport to be played with new tracking technology enabling the distribution of data in real time.
At the VELUX EHF FINAL4 2018, all games will be equipped with the SELECT / KINEXON iBall, capturing information such as ball speed, shot detection, position of the shot and placement of the ball on target.
Specifically this will mean:
(1) spectators are able to observe the speed of the ball and the distance from goal for every shot in the game;
(2) for broadcasting and digital channels, the shot distribution on court from one team or a specific player will be displayed;
(3) the position of every shot entering the goal will be displayed, illustrating scoring strategies.
All information is detected automatically and in real-time with interfaces for both broadcast and digital channels.
The SELECT / KINEXON iBall and the associated new insights into the game will make the performance of players more tangible and result in a significant increase in fan engagement.
Managing Director of EHF Marketing GmbH, David Szlezak, 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 CEO, Maximilian Schmidt, said: “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.”
The collaboration between EHF Marketing, SELECT and KINEXON dates back to January 2016, when KINEXON was invited to present their innovative tracking technology at the ‘European Handball Innovation Days’ in Vienna.
After a successful proof of concept, SELECT and KINEXON have worked for two years on the iBall to ensure it meets the demands of top-level handball competition. With the technology not only needing to capture data at ball speeds of over 140 km/h, but also withstand the impact of hitting the post.
SELECT CEO, Peter Knap, said: “EHF and KINEXON are important strategic partners and together we will continue to further develop European handball. This new innovative solution shows that we are taking responsibility and working together to develop the product. The SELECT iBALL will help to improve the framework for events and increasing the visibility of modern top handball."
“The new SELECT chip ball is a fantastic product made of extremely hardwearing synthetic leather material. A patented zero-wing bladder inside the ball ensures optimal roundness. The KINEXON chip is placed at the very heart of the ball, on the bladder, to keep it safe from shots and bumps, while in play. Specially developed foam gives the chip-enabled ball an extremely soft feel and fits great in the hand. The ball is light and lively, but above all its constant balance ensures there are no random bounces.
“We have been developing balls for more than 70 years so we have a deep insight into the very nature of the sport of handball, which enables us to ensure top quality in new innovative solutions. SELECT’s new iBALL is an important step in the development of the modern handball.”
The iBall was first introduced to the public at the ‘European Handball goes Tech’ showcase on the fringes of the VELUX EHF FINAL4 in 2017. Following a successful testing period during this year’s VELUX EHF Champions League season, the EHF and its partners are implementing the iBall into the competition in order to offer fans the opportunity to see the game from new angles and engage more with the action.
The company was founded in 2012 by scientists of the Technical University Munich. KINEXON Sports & Media develops cutting-edge solutions for precise localisation and motion sensing of professional athletes in various sports.
The portfolio includes both hardware (e.g. sensors, anchors) for real-time detection of precise data as well as software solutions for smart data processing and analytics.
KINEXON Sports & Media offers an unrivalled tracking technology for indoor and outdoor use that locates athletes with centimetre-accuracy in real-time. The company has its headquarters in Munich and a further office in New York City.
Eigil Nielsen, star goalkeeper of the Danish national football team, founded SELECT in 1947. Under Nielsen’s management, SELECT became a trailblazer by producing many of the ball industry’s new creations, such as the first laceless ball, the first ball with 32 panels and the introduction of synthetic leather.
Most of the world’s handball tournaments are today still played with balls made by Eigil Nielsen’s principle of 32 panels. Just as most balls produced all over the world are based on his innovative thinking. SELECT sells more than 3.5 million balls a year as well as a very large portfolio of sporting articles in 50 countries all over the world.
SELECT is the world’s largest producer of handballs and official match ball supplier to a wide range of associations, leagues and clubs around the world. All EHF competitions have SELECT as the official match ball – including the EHF Champions League and the European Championships.