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NBA Bringing Hawk-Eye to Assist in Out-of-Bounds Calls

  • The league is working Sony’s Hawk-Eye Innovations to enhance officiating accuracy and gameplay speed.
  • It is also expanding its partnership with Genius Sports' Second Spectrum for data analytics.
Basketballs gathered at the stanchion of an NBA basket, which is advertising the NBA app.
Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

The National Basketball Association is making strides to advance the technology surrounding the league — to enhance both gameplay and the fan experience.

On Thursday, the NBA announced a multiyear partnership with Sony’s Hawk-Eye Innovations to enhance officiating accuracy and gameplay speed beginning with the 2023-24 season.

The league and Hawk-Eye have been working together since 2019 to gather data from NBA Summer League and six NBA arenas to develop a proof of concept. Starting next season, the league will use Hawk-Eye to check calls — and plans to let the technology automatically make judgments on calls such as out-of-bounds and goaltending in future seasons.

Hawk-Eye is best known for its use in cricket, soccer, and especially tennis, where three of the four Grand Slam tournaments — Wimbledon, the Australian Open, and the U.S. Open — implement it to at least assist in line calls; the latter two have completely replaced line judges with the technology.

The NBA also plans to use the data gathered through Hawk-Eye to further its analytics movement and amplify tangential products, such as virtual game recreations.

A general view of an NBA basketball before a game.

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Also, on Thursday, the league announced it is expanding its partnership with Genius Sports’ Second Spectrum.

The pair will work together to develop “Dragon,” a technology platform that seeks to synthesize analysis from millions of on-court basketball data points.

Additionally, Second Spectrum will create automated graphics based on optical data for alternate telecasts on NBA League Pass, which will be implemented directly into the stream. Genius will also continue to provide data to the league and all 30 teams for analytics insights.

The Association continues to be very technology-forward in its partnerships: In January, it expanded its partnership with Meta.

In 2021, it announced Sportradar as its official data provider beginning next season and that the league would take an equity stake in the company. It will play a role in the new Hawk-Eye partnership.