Multimedia Tools and Applications

, Volume 73, Issue 3, pp 1819–1842 | Cite as

Accurate ball trajectory tracking and 3D visualization for computer-assisted sports broadcast

  • Mikel Labayen
  • Igor G. Olaizola
  • Naiara AginakoEmail author
  • Julian Florez


The application of computer-aided controversial plays resolution in sport events significantly benefits organizers, referees and audience. Nowadays, especially in ball sports, very accurate technological solutions can be found. The main drawback of these systems is the need of complex and expensive hardware which makes them not affordable for less-known regional/traditional sports events. The lack of competitive systems with reduced hardware/software complexity and requirements motivates this research. Visual Analytics technologies permit system detecting the ball trajectory, solving with precision possible controversial plays. Ball is extracted from the video scene exploiting its shape features and velocity vector properties. Afterwards, its relative position to border line is calculated based on polynomial approximations. In order to enhance user visual experience, real-time rendering technologies are introduced to obtain virtual 3D reconstruction in quasi real-time. Comparing to other set ups, the main contribution of this work lays on the utilization of an unique camera per border line to extract 3D bounce point information. In addition, the system has no camera location/orientation limit, provided that line view is not occluded. Testing of the system has been done in real world scenarios, comparing the system output with referees’ judgment. Visual results of the system have been broadcasted during Basque Pelota matches.


Computer graphics Camera calibration Tracking Segmentation Sports events broadcast 



The authors would like to acknowledge the collaboration offered by G93 Telecomunicaciones15 (Audio-Visual, Computer and Graphic Services for Television) and EiTB (Basque public broadcaster) for the help offered in the system development, test and broadcast processes.

The authors are also grateful for the collaboration offered by ASPE16 (ASPE Jugadores de Pelota) in providing access to its professional pelota player training sessions and in advising in game rule issues as well as for the financial support offered by research project programs of the SPRI17 (Society for Industrial Promotion and Restructuring of Basque Country).

Finally, the authors would like to thank the rest of Begira research team: Maider Laka, Julen García and Aritz Legarretaetxebarria. Also, Javier Barandiaran and Iñigo Barandiaran for their advice and the collegues of Digital Television and Multimedia Services department for the unconditional help offered.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2013

Authors and Affiliations

  • Mikel Labayen
    • 1
  • Igor G. Olaizola
    • 1
  • Naiara Aginako
    • 1
    Email author
  • Julian Florez
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Digital Television and Multimedia ServicesVicomtech - Ik4 Research AllianceSan Sebastian-DonostiaSpain

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