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Sony Hawk-Eye Innovations and MLB Introduce Next-Gen Baseball Tracking and Analytics Platform

High-resolution Sony Hawk-Eye cameras and machine vision deliver ball-tracking and real-time player-tracking capabilities to enhance the fan experience.

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Hawk-Eye Innovations North America, a Sony group company, and Major League Baseball have introduced Hawk-Eye’s sports tracking platform at all 30 MLB ballparks, as well as the Toronto Blue Jays’ temporary home in Buffalo, for the 2020 season.

Hawk-Eye’s optical tracking system and vision-processing technology “enable live ball and player tracking to +/- 0.1 inch accuracy with full-field coverage,” according to the company announcement.

This new platform “provides MLB and clubs with a continuous data stream to better assess all on-field activity, including pitcher/batter mechanics, pitch execution, batted-ball trajectory and defense metrics,” the announcement says.

The Hawk-Eye platform “integrates with MLB infrastructure and Google Cloud to power MLB’s Statcast system with more accurate data and advanced metrics for stat-loving fans to enjoy,” according to the announcement.

Hawk-Eye Innovations North America and MLB have entered into a multi-year partnership to provide tracking and analytics services across all MLB ballparks and several training facilities.

MLB and its teams “rely on this data to power broadcast and digital fan experiences, as well as a range of baseball operations functions – including player development and umpire evaluation,” the announcement says.

The Hawk-Eye system tracks the field of play using 12 high resolution, high-frame rate video cameras installed at each ballpark. Video from these cameras is synchronized and analyzed to detect and track ball and player movement.

The company’s Synchronized Multi-Angle Replay Technology (SMART) video replay and distribution system has been used by MLB to support the challenge system used in its replay review since the 2014 season.

How Hawk-Eye Innovations Helps MLB

In addition to previously available data sets, the new platform provides real-time player pose and motion analysis by measuring multiple points on the body 30 times per second.

“Hawk-Eye’s impressive 20-year history in sports tracking has resulted in industry-leading expertise and gave us a high degree of confidence in this partnership,” said MLB chief technology officer Jason Gaedtke in the announcement.

“We set a high bar for performance of the new tracking system and Hawk-Eye has consistently met and exceeded those expectations. We look forward to working with [Hawk-Eye Innovations founder] Paul [Hawkins] and his team to continue to innovate on this platform in the years ahead,” he said.

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“Fans can enjoy baseball on a deeper level with increased stats on a specific player,” said Hawkins in the announcement. “Working together with MLB, we’re advancing our data capture service as the next core of our business.

“This new implementation heightens the experience for MLB’s players, officials and fans, as we strive for increased precision and engagement. We see this as a crucial step in this journey and are thrilled to be growing our partnership with Major League Baseball,” he said.

“Hawk-Eye has become an integral part of Sony, providing a substantial contribution to improving the integrity within sports,” said Theresa Alesso, pro division president of Sony Electronics, in the announcement.

“Together we are contributing to the increasing excitement of sports with our technology and entertainment properties. We’re pursuing cutting-edge tools that enhance sports innovation, promote deeper insights and produce a dynamic way of enjoying games from any location,” she said.

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