State-of-the-art player tracking data is now coming to MLS.
The league announced on Wednesday a multi-year partnership with Second Spectrum, which becomes MLS’s first official advanced tracking data provider. Beginning with the 2020 season, Second Spectrum will put its proprietary optical tracking system to work for every MLS match.
As part of this process, Second Spectrum installed optical tracking systems in every MLS stadium during the offseason. Leveraging these cameras and a cloud-based analytics engine, Second Spectrum captures data on the location of every player, the referees, and the ball 25 times per second.
Second Spectrum uses machine learning and artificial intelligence to process the collected data, and can calculate a player’s speed, acceleration, deceleration, and shot velocity, as well as advanced statistics like passing probability and expected goals, in near real-time.
In addition to new statistical content that will be showcased throughout the season, fans will also see the new metrics and data visualizations come to life in new enhanced highlights that will be showcased throughout the season on MLSsoccer.com and the official MLS app.
As the season progresses this new tracking data will be integrated into MLS match broadcasts.
MLS club technical staffs will also use the new software to scout and track player performance. The Second Spectrum system will provide data visualization technology, customized reports, enhanced video tools and more for coaches, data scientists and video analysts.
“We’re incredibly excited to partner with MLS and its teams,” Second Spectrum CEO Rajiv Maheswaran said in a statement. “The combination of our new technologies and capabilities with a forward-thinking organization like MLS creates an exciting future of continued growth and innovation together.”
The wide-ranging partnership encompasses all MLS matches, including Audi MLS Cup Playoffs, MLS Cup and the MLS All-Star Game presented by Target, as well as Leagues Cup and Campeones Cup matches – the annual competitions between MLS and Liga MX.
“MLS’s partnership with Second Spectrum sets a new standard for innovation in player-tracking in soccer,” Chris Schlosser, MLS SVP of Media said in a league statement. “Along with Second Spectrum, MLS will deliver an enhanced new fan experience, bringing innovation to MLS content, while providing MLS clubs and technical staff with new tools to enhance player performance.”