Japan might not be the first nation that springs to mind when someone mentions basketball, but the country has a long tradition of playing the sport and was a founding member of the International Basketball Federation’s (FIBA) Asia chapter in 1936. Japan actually has one of the most successful men’s basketball teams in Asia; it has won the Asian Basketball Championships twice, has qualified for the Olympic Games six times and for the FIBA World Cup four times. Domestically, there is a thriving league scene, and one of the leading competitors is Levanga Hokkaido, based in Sapporo – Japan’s fifth largest city.
At a recent league game in January, Levanga Hokkaido partnered with Ross Video and Panasonic System Solutions Japan Co. Ltd to introduce a brand-new concept for the game-day production – a game ‘excitement score’ based on facial recognition and Artificial Intelligence. Panasonic’s facial recognition system scanned the crowd during each quarter of the match and, using artificial intelligence, created an excitement score based on the facial expressions of the crowd. Ross Video’s Datalinq then transferred that data into XPression, and the subsequent graphics were shared with the crowd via the in-stadium displays.
Commenting on the technology, Ross Video’s Director of Sales for Asia, Mark Cooke, points to the increasing sophistication of game-day productions. “Sports teams are really focusing on fan engagement and how to tempt people off their sofas and into venues; there’s a big emphasis on the game-day production and how to make this more creative and more exciting for the crowd. We’re delighted to have partnered with Panasonic to bring this experimental new metric to Levanga Hokkaido’s matches, and I’m sure other clubs and sports will also look to exploit this technology in future”. Mr. Yuta Muto, Counselor with Panasonic System Solutions Japan Co. Ltd, is pleased with the results of the experiment. “We wanted to try out this technology and see how the crowd responded to it. The reaction from the fans was extremely positive and we’re very happy with the outcome. The integration between Ross XPression and the Panasonic equipment was seamless, and this adds an innovative new dimension to our game days and the overall fan experience”.