The NBA is planning to implement Hawk-Eye during the 2023-2024 season ©Sony Sports Businesses

The National Basketball Association (NBA) announced a new partnership with Sony's Hawk-Eye Innovations, which will be used to automatically make decisions on important calls such as out-of-bounds and goal-tending and is due be introduced next season.

The two companies have been working together since 2019 to accumulate data from the NBA Summer League and six NBA arenas to build on a concept that will succeed.

The technology will assist the NBA referees, who are prone to make errors due to some calls being almost 50/50.

Hawk-Eye has been used in cricket, football and tennis, replacing line judges with advanced technology that is much more accurate.

The system has been used by FIFA since 2017, including in its last World Cup tournaments at Russia in 2018 and Qatar 2022. 

"We are thrilled to partner with Sony’s Sports Businesses to leverage Hawk-Eye’s cuttingedge 3D optical tracking data," said Evan Wasch, the NBA's executive vice-president of basketball strategy and analytics.

"This data will enhance our officiating, power significant insights for our teams, and create a dynamic data set that will improve our game and enable unique engagement opportunities for NBA fans."

Sony have been trialling its Hawk-Eye system in the NBA Summer League ©NBA
Sony have been trialling its Hawk-Eye system in the NBA Summer League ©NBA

The technology replaces the "center of mass" tracking system used by Second Spectrum, which estimates each player's location using a single point location.

The introduction of "pose tracking" provides new officiating capabilities to support better and faster decision-making, with the intent to increase the accuracy of officiating calls and the speed of play. 

In addition, the system will give the NBA and its teams the ability to measure and analyse athletic movement in new ways.

Sportradar, the NBA's exclusive data provider, will work alongside Hawk-Eye to allow for the generation of tracking data sets, metrics, advanced stats and insights.

"We view it as a real privilege to partner with the NBA - a truly iconic global brand and a leader in innovative sports content," said Rufus Hack, chief executive of Sony’s Sports Businesses. 

"We look forward to helping them unlock the power of data to continue to enhance officiating and basketball analytics, as well as to drive new immersive fan experiences."

FIFA implemented Hawk-Eye's technology for goal-line reviews back in 2017 ©FIFA
FIFA implemented Hawk-Eye's technology for goal-line reviews back in 2017 ©FIFA

The NBA also announced that they have extended their collaboration with Genius Sports Second Spectrum.

Second Spectrum is developing "Dragon" which will be used to synthesise analysis from data points of the games, while also creating automated graphics derived from optical data for alternate telecasts on NBA League Pass.

League Pass is the NBA's main streaming service, where fans can access all the games being played.