Catapult x Champion Data delivers athlete tracking services to the AFL

Today, the relationship between Catapult and Champion Data takes another leap forward. The two parties have penned an exclusive, multi-year deal to supply performance analysis solutions to the Australian Football League (AFL).

For the first time, teams across the AFL, AFLW, and AFL Pathways will use Catapult’s Vector devices to empower data-driven decisions to improve player performance, quantify decisions to help mitigate the risk of injuries, and inform return-to-play processes. This is also the first time Catapult’s ClearSky system will be installed and used across nine AFL stadiums during live matches.

→ To learn more about Catapult’s Vector devices, click here to contact us.

The extension of the relationship makes it the largest league-wide deal globally in terms of device usage, both on an athlete level as well as in-stadium with ClearSky installations. This is a testament to the strength and longevity of the relationship between Catapult, Champion Data and the AFL.

Since 2015, Catapult has been the performance technology supplier to Champion Data, which together, delivers athlete tracking services to the AFL. Our mutual commitment to research and development has played a pivotal role in assisting the AFL to stay at the forefront of innovation and adopt leading-edge technology to optimise and drive continuous improvement in player and team performance.

Starting with this new deal, the Vector devices will help coaches and players quantify, with pinpoint accuracy, the immense physical demands of Australian Rules football on each athlete. Combining advanced global navigation satellite system (GNSS) capability with ClearSky local positioning system (LPS), Vector devices will provide an integrated and comprehensive view of performance, in real-time, leveraging the latest data science to help players and teams find answers to complex performance questions.

→ Discover how AFL Queensland is currently using Catapult wearable devices. Click here to learn more.

The installation of ClearSky across an extended network of stadiums will deliver unrivalled real-time insights that will be integrated by Champion Data to support broadcast commitments, such as the Telstra Tracker, and create a more engaging fan experience during live matches.

“Our continued relationship with Champion Data to partner with the AFL is testament to the incredible possibilities that are unleashed when our performance technology is used in training and on match day,” said Will Lopes, CEO of Catapult.

“We are immensely proud of our Champion Data relationship and look forward to working together to continue to drive the development of AFL athlete monitoring and performance science.”

Catapult empowers more than 3,425 elite teams around the world with its integrated SaaS platform, providing athletes and teams with a comprehensive view of performance.

Champion Data delivers services to sports bodies and the media globally.

“Our ability to service an insatiable appetite for sports data content has been key to our ongoing growth and success,” said Libby Owens, CEO of Champion Data. “We look forward to working closely with Catapult to continue to push the boundaries on creating high-performance athlete data for the AFL.”

→ To find out more about how Catapult can help the performance of your teams and athletes, get in touch here. Alternatively, click here to download your free Catapult Vector brochure.

AFL use of data: Umpiring, technology assisting with managing COVID-19

Covid-19 has and continues to have a profound impact on sports and competitions like the AFL. Interestingly, and perhaps surprising for some, AFL umpires also track their performance and ability to cope with the physical demands of officiating matches. Back in 2020, High Performance Manager for Umpiring said:

“COVID-19 has meant from round one, there has been no group umpire training with no greater than two umpires (who must be officiating in the upcoming game) allowed to train together at any one time. No centralised venue, and, throughout the season we’ve had umpires constantly shifting all over the country via various hubs. Every single element of our preparation has been dramatically altered and is increasingly reliant on technology.”

Jackson continued:​ ​“everything from in-game communications between the umpires to help determine field positions, handovers from zones … along with GPS to be able to track their physical output, has helped officiating in the AFL.”

→ To continue learning more about technology and AFL umpire insights, click here.

AFL use of Data: Broadcast

The extended relationship between Catapult and Champion Data reaffirms the trend Birmingham Sport Sciences Professor, Dr Tom Browlee, outlined ahead of 2022: “Data is already being used to supplement reporting by sports broadcasters, but we still have yet to see all its use cases play out. In track and field, we see throwing and jumping distances superimposed on our screens; in the NFL we see the required yardages; and most recently, we’ve seen the live speed of F1 cars and the pattern of penalty kicks by rugby players.

“Broadcasters using data can give viewers a bigger picture of what’s going on during games. The sports and leagues that haven’t been benefiting from this feature will start to invest in it more to keep fans engaged, especially with the possibility that stadia will not be filled to capacity due to pandemic measures. However, with more data comes more responsibility, so privacy concerns will remain paramount in business decisions around data use in broadcasting.”

→ Read more of Dr Browlee’s insights by clicking here.

The top-level of the British rugby league system, The Super League, recently teamed up with Catapult to deliver real-time performance analytics direct to fans at home.

Super League Chief Commercial Officer, Rhodri Jones said, “we’re really excited to add live GPS data to the Sky Sports broadcast for Dacia Magic Weekend. It has been a massive effort by all parties to make this happen, but this first in the UK will allow the Sky Sports viewers to get even closer to the action.”

This latest technological innovation aims to bring fans closer to the action and, together with like-minded initiatives, has seen Super League viewing figures rise 10% on 2020 and 25% on 2017.

→ To learn more about the benefits of a league-level partnership, contact us today.

About Catapult

Catapult exists to unleash the potential of every athlete and team on Earth. Operating at the intersection of sports science and analytics, Catapult products are designed to optimize performance, and quantify return to play. Catapult has more than 340 staff based across 24 locations worldwide, working with more than 3,425 elite teams in 137 countries globally. To learn more about Catapult or to inquire about accessing performance analytics for a team or athlete, visit us at Follow us at @CatapultSports on social media for updates and insights.

About Champion Data

Champion Data has delivered official sports data for over 20 years. We have an unsurpassed record across elite performance in sport, media, broadcasting, venues and wagering. As Official Data Partner of the AFL since 1999, we work closely with the AFL, developing unrivalled data products and services and invaluable insights for Coaches and Clubs. We create dynamic and engaging data-led content, that is fast and reliable, to deliver the story behind the game.

Click here to find out more about how Catapult can help the performance of your teams and athletes.

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