Catapult Sports wearable sports tech, the NRL in Australia and Channel Nine entered into historical broadcasting territory with their live data-driven broadcast of the Holden Women’s State of Origin last Friday. You won’t see this kind of performance technology during the FIFA Women’s World Cup going on in France right now on Fox Sports or Telemundo broadcasts here in America. Rugby League began play back in 1908. Fast forward to 2019 and the ladies event received the same GPS player statistics as the Holden Men’s State of Origin which began broadcasting the same sports technology data three years ago to delighted fans Downunder. This made it the first time in the history of women’s professional or amateur sport a stat enhanced television screen powered by a wearable was produced for viewers. The Sports Techie community blog is a partner to the rapid development of women’s and girl’s sport using sports tech systems, solutions and products as tools to fast-track global acceptance, increase popularity in the United States and around the world, while providing a truly unique fan experience.
Female NRL Player Data Tracked in Real-Time
Catapult’s Testra Tracker provided the live data feed and resulting metrics for the historic match between the Harvey Norman Queensland Maroons and Harvey Norman New South Wales Blues and it was a score for all, including potential new sponsors of the stats. A crowd of 6,824 fans witnessed the inaugural event in person.
NRL General Manager of the Women’s Elite Program, Tiffany Slater feels the extension of Catapult’s devices to capture data points produced by elite female athletes during Origin action marks a further example of the level of professionalism increasing across the women’s rugby league. Slater said, “Our mantra refers to the same game – our way and it’s fantastic to have high-tech devices available for our elite female athletes and coaches, providing real-time performance, data and results to coaches and fans alike.”
Increased Fan Engagement Via Wearables
Catapult’s Head of Australia and New Zealand Partnerships, Nicole Pensko, said: “The partnership with the Women’s State of Origin series shows a turning point in the integration of sports science and fan engagement for the women’s game.”
Fan engagement is now augmented by wearable tech to create more robust broadcasts, a new trend in the making. Catapult’s wearable global positioning system (GPS) technologies showcased their sports tech through partners, the NRL and Channel Nine.
Head of Creative and Innovation at Nine, Alex Rolls, said; “At Wide World of Sports our aim is to bring viewers as close to the action as possible. The Telstra Tracker is another broadcast innovation that enables us to this – knowing what a player is doing at any second of a match gives us incredible insights into these phenomenal athletes. To be part of this world first is something to be proud of.”
Testra is worn during live NRL matches and helps to generate fan engagement for each event. Viewers and opponents have access to player’s speed and the amount of distance covered much like Next-Gen stats the NFL provides during their broadcasts. Add in intensity measurements and sprinting capabilities and the broadcast looks more like a video game screen than what was traditionally displayed across Australia by Nine.
Rolls added, “I’d like to thank Telstra for their ongoing commitment and investment to enable us to bring our viewers these insights. Catapult, for this world class technology, Alston Elliot, Nine’s Rugby League graphics provider for interpreting and displaying the enormous amount of data we receive, and of course the NRL and the players for continuing to believe in this technological space.”
Sports Techie, NSW won the first-ever Holden Women’s State of Origin match. The mighty Blues franchise have not lost a rugby match since 2014.
The NRL Telstra Premiership draws nearly three million people through the gates while matches total in excess of 100 million television viewers per year. The NRL Community is making an impact with youth as well,
The Holden State of Origin series is considered Australia’s top rivalry. As a result, it ranks as one of Australia’s highest rated TV programs.
“Through providing live player performance data, we can contribute to the well-deserved exposure the women’s teams are receiving, and we were pleased to be able to play a significant part in this innovation,” said Pensko.
Women worldwide are enjoying the opportunity to play pro sports. Wearables and other sports tech are helping to increase viewership with enhanced content made for a truly epic fan experience.
Well done, Catapult, NRL and Channel Nine, may the future be as bright as it was last weekend for sports tech-enhanced women’s sport broadcasts everywhere.
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