Six Nations Rugby has partnered with Sportable to utilise the UK-based sports technology and data science business’ Smart Gilbert Rugby Ball.
The 2022 Autumn Nations Series, which kicks off between Scotland and Australia on 29 October, will mark the start of this multi-year collaboration.
Julie Paterson, Director of Rugby at Six Nations Rugby, said: “As a fan focussed organisation, Six Nations Rugby is constantly exploring opportunities to give fans the best possible experience through our Championships and events.
“The partnership with Sportable, and their smart ball technology is testament to this ambition.
“To be able to offer fans real time data and insight that can help bring to life the game in an innovative way, is going to be incredibly exciting, and everyone involved is looking forward to seeing this translate through our extensive international broadcast coverage.
“For the teams, players and coaches, the opportunity to provide them with a new strand of information offers the potential to support training through to on pitch decision making, which we are incredibly excited to see develop. ”
The pair outlined that the deal is centred around ‘unlocking deep performance and fan engagement insights’ from the Smart Rugby Ball – which communicates with wireless beacons around the pitch – across all Autumn Nations Series, Guinness Six Nations and TikTok Women’s Six Nations Championship matches.
Augmented reality graphics will be powered by on-screen real-time match stats such as kick distance, pass distance and territory gained and presented across broadcast and Six Nations digital channels.
Sportable Founder and CEO, Dugald Macdonald, added: “We are extremely excited and proud to announce this landmark collaboration between Sportable and Six Nations.
“We have been hard at work over the past few years to bring a new level of innovation and insight into elite sport, to have an opportunity to bring that to life with a forward-thinking organisation like Six Nations and their member unions is truly exciting.
“Key to our involvement is the introduction of the Smart Rugby Ball, which is now firmly entrenched at the highest level of the game and offers deep new insights and enhanced value to Six Nations Rugby, their partners, participating teams and ultimately the fans.
“We are excited to see the Smart Rugby Ball data come to life across multiple platforms over the coming months and working with Six Nations to further advance our joint offering to teams and fans over years to come.”
In march, Premiership Rugby partnered with Sportable to trial the use of the Smart Ball to generate high-speed data in a bid to drive better athlete performance on the field.
The Newcastle Falcons vs Leicester Tigers cup became the first professional northern hemisphere competition to trial the ball, which will provide ‘new, real-time data-led insights’ for teams, coaches, fans at the matches as well as TV viewers.