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SportVU is a camera system hung from the rafters that collects data at a rate of 25 times per second and follows the ball and every player on the court.[1] SportVU provides in-depth statistics, including real-time player and ball positioning through sophisticated software and statistical algorithms. SportVU's speed, distance, and possession data provide key insights and analysis points.

SportVU player tracking delivers statistical information via real-time X, Y positioning of players and X, Y, Z positioning of the ball. By leveraging this data, STATS is able to present performance metrics for players and teams to leverage.[2]

With a foundation in soccer, STATS expanded the core SportVU technology into basketball beginning with the 2010-2011 NBA season. Today, STATS is the Official Tracking partner of the NBA.[3] Artificial Intelligence has its hands all over the NBA, or rather, have their eyes in the sky. The NBA is using these statistics captured by SportVU on and NBATV as well as in arenas across the country to provide fans with insight. SportVU statistics are also being utilized by every[4] team in the league to support their pro analytics and aid in player development. The cameras keep a digitized visual record of every game, collecting far more information than could ever be squeezed into a box score. Not only do they track who scores a bucket, for instance, but they also capture every player's position and speed, and whether the score comes from a designed play or a fast break. With so much data, the challenge is to extract useful knowledge -- and help players and coaches to gain every competitive edge possible.[5]



SportVU was created in 2005 by Israeli scientists, Gal Oz and Miky Tamir,[6] who had a background in missile tracking and advanced optical recognition.[7][8] They had previously used some of that same science to track soccer matches in Israel.

SportVU was featured at national trade shows NAB 2007, in Las Vegas,[9] and International Broadcasting Convention 2007, in Amsterdam.[10] Shortly after, in 2008, SportVU was acquired by STATS LLC, one of the largest sports statistics companies in the world.[11] STATS would go on to center SportVU efforts on basketball.[12] During the 2009 NBA Finals in Orlando, STATS successfully demoed their SportVU technology for NBA executives.[13] At the start of the 2010-2011 NBA season, four teams were contracted to use SportVU, the Dallas Mavericks, Houston Rockets, Oklahoma City Thunder and San Antonio Spurs.[12][14]


SportVU converted their tracking system from delayed processing to real-time data delivery during the 2011-2012 NBA season.[15] NBA analytics teams would now be able to utilize tracking data during games. At the start of the 2012-2013 season, 10 teams were using SportVU.[14]

Since the 2013-2014 NBA season, the SportVU camera system has been installed and in operation in all NBA arenas.[16] In that same year, STATS added the ICE analytics platform to organize, display and analyze SportVU data, used by every team in the NBA.[17] NBA team, Toronto Raptors, shared with sports blog, Grantland, their progress with the use of SportVU's new algorithms, which identify new events (touches, dribbles, and passes) and play types (drives, isolations, post ups, and ball screens).[18] The Raptors Analytics Team was able to create a graphical user interface to play video footage of the play from the X-Y coordinates retrieved from SportVU.


In 2016, STATS and the NBA met an agreement to extend SportVU tracking data to many more media outlets around the world including ESPN, NBA on TNT, and Bleacher Report.[19]

Beginning in the 2016-2017 season, STATS would serve as France's Ligue de Football Professionnel's official data and tracking provider.[20] STATS would use SportVU to provide various football data and statistics.

After the NBA's full adoption of SportVU tracking technology in 2013, many statisticians and data scientists have utilized tools such as machine learning to provide more complex statistics from the tracking data. At the 10th annual MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference in 2016, STATS's own Director of Data Science and his team was awarded the grand prize for their contributions to a research paper concerning the prediction of shot outcomes in tennis.[21] This was one of the many research papers completed for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference that used SportVU data, including Kirk Goldsberry's paper in 2014 concerning the prediction of points and evaluation of decision-making in basketball.[22]


  1. ^ "Competitive fire helps Kirk Lacob make his own name with Warriors". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  2. ^ "Moneyball 2.0: How Missile Tracking Cameras Are Remaking The NBA". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  3. ^ "SportVU Tracking System Could Find Reach Beyond Court For NBA, Teams - SportsBusiness Daily | SportsBusiness Journal | SportsBusiness Daily Global". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  4. ^ "Stats". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  5. ^ Woo, M. (2019, January 02). Artificial Intelligence in NBA Basketball. Retrieved from
  6. ^ "SportVU | crunchbase". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  7. ^ "Industry Insights: The Evolution of Basketball through Technology | Warsaw Sports Business Club". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  8. ^ McCann, Zach (May 19, 2012). "Player tracking transforming NBA analytics". ESPN. Retrieved March 3, 2016.
  9. ^ "News: SportVU at NAB 2007".
  10. ^ "News: SportVU at IBC 2007". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  11. ^ Staff, Edit (2 December 2008). "Sports Data Firm Stats Acquires SportVU, Provider of CNN's Hologram Technology". Retrieved 30 March 2017.
  12. ^ a b "Big Data meets big-time basketball". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  13. ^ "Industry Insights: The Evolution of Basketball through Technology | Warsaw Sports Business Club". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  14. ^ a b "Player tracking transforming NBA analytics". Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  15. ^ "New age of NBA analytics: Advantage or overload? - The Boston Globe". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  16. ^ "Bigger than LeBron: How SportVU Will Change Basketball - The Airspace". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  17. ^ "NBA motion tracking powered by Intel improves team performance and fan experience | Sports Techie". Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  18. ^ Lowe, Zach. "Lights, Cameras, Revolution". Retrieved June 26, 2015.
  19. ^ "Stats LLC and NBA to make STATS SportVU Player Tracking data available to more fans than ever before - NBA Communications". NBA Communications. 2016-01-19. Retrieved 2017-04-02.
  20. ^ "Ligue de Football Professionnel Selects STATS as Official Data and Tracking Provider - STATS". STATS. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  21. ^ "STATS' Data Science Team Wins at 2016 MIT Sloan Sports". STATS. Retrieved 2017-04-03.
  22. ^ Goldsberry, Kirk (2014-02-06). "DataBall". Grantland. Retrieved 2017-04-03.

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