The NFL is going high-tech and the future is now!  The National Football League announced today they will install Zebra Technologies’ real-time location system (RTLS) in 17 NFL stadiums for the 2014 season.  This technology will track players and officials, providing location based data known as “Next Gen Stats” to fans.

The receivers Zebra installs throughout the stadiums will communicate with a radio-frequency identification (RFID) transmitters placed inside the shoulder pads of each player to capture their location measurements, in real-time, during the game.  This technology will collect and store data such as position, speed, and distance that will be registered and compiled into a database.

For the first time, this technology enables the NFL to accurately capture real-time player tracking statistics, such as acceleration and total distance run.  The real-time nature of these statistics enables end-users to gain immediate insight into the action on the field.  NFL clubs will soon want the ability to track player heart rate, pulse, core temperature and other vital stats to prevent or detect concussions, heart failure and other life threatening issues that may occur during competition.

“Working with Zebra will give fans, teams, coaches and players a deeper look into the game they love,” said Vishal Shah, NFL Vice President of Media Strategy. “Zebra’s tracking technology will help teams to evolve training, scouting and evaluation through increased knowledge of player performance, as well as provide ways for our teams and partners to enhance the fan experience.”

“Zebra’s legacy of providing visibility solutions to a variety of industries gives us extensive knowledge in how to collect important real-time data that helps organizations make smarter decisions – we call this enterprise asset intelligence,” said Anders Gustafsson, chief executive officer of Zebra Technologies. “It’s exciting to partner with an innovator like the NFL, where we will provide real-time data and information to coaches, broadcasters and fans to enrich the game experience.”

Zebra’s sports solution will be installed in the 15 stadiums that will host Thursday Night Football games (Atlanta, Baltimore, Carolina, Chicago, Cincinnati, Denver, Green Bay, Houston, Jacksonville, Miami, New England, Oakland, San Francisco, St. Louis, Washington) as well as Detroit and New Orleans, and will capture information from all 32 teams.  While the NFL has done a good job in player safety at all levels, I think this technology is a critical first step in player internal health during competition, next is the equipment.

For more information about Zebra’s sports solutions, and follow Zebra Sports @ZebraSports or contact them at 847-970-2470

Data provided by NFL Communications