In Australia, you can find a pioneer in sports data and analytics. According to CEO Will Lopes, Catapult Sports sees U.S. colleges, baseball, and ice hockey as three main growth areas for North America as the market for wearable technology and the ability to enhance performance grows to a $40 billion potential market.
Catapult Sports has been a pioneer in the area of sports analytics from its inception as an Australian effort to improve the performance of the country’s athletes for the 2000 Sydney Olympics.
In the decades after its introduction, Catapult’s wearable GPS has become commonplace in a variety of sports, including top-tier English and German soccer, as well as the NBA. With more than 3,400 teams utilizing Catapult, some believe the industry has matured.
Lopes, on the other hand, believes that there is still room for expansion in other European soccer leagues, as well as in the United States, where the company earns the majority of its revenue.
“The NCAA—the FBS and FCS teams—still have a tremendous potential development,” Lopes said, adding that the world’s leading sports, including top institutions, are likely a $2.6 billion sector in their own right.
The company has inked a deal with the Boston College sports department to provide 10 teams with equipment and analytical services, including football, women’s lacrosse, and field hockey. It’s a first for Catapult: a multi-sport cross-services arrangement that Lopes hopes to replicate elsewhere, as well as an opportunity to grow into non-profit collegiate sports.
Catapult is expanding into movement analytics, most recently introducing tools for hockey and baseball, notably for goalies and pitchers, whose workloads aren’t based on distance and speed, which Catapult typically tracks.
For example, Catapult’s goalkeeper package tracks how many times a goalie moves from his feet to his knees for blocking, as well as the intensity and asymmetry of lateral movement and other stress load indicators.
The Los Angeles Kings, Hockey Canada, and the Philadelphia Flyers are among the organizations that employ the system.
In baseball, their program looks at inertia-based activities like swings, throws, and pitches to determine injury risk. The product was brought to the market earlier this month, with the expectation that MLB teams, who lost over $425 million in compensation each year, would be a key market.