Several college football programs are using a new smart chip to authenticate and track footballs used in games.
Big Game USA, manufacturer of official Football Bowl Subdivision college game balls, has partnered with Prova Group on the device, which is called gametag.
Big Game embeds a green colored chip near the football’s laces and using an app, the ball can be tracked from the moment it leaves the factory. Once tracking begins, the history of the ball is recorded and all activity is sent to a secure database operated by Prova.
Gametag technology will be used in all Texas A&M, US Naval Academy, Mississippi State and Nebraska games this season.
“Gametag is cutting-edge technology that immediately changes the way game balls are authenticated,” said Chris Calandro, founder of Big Game USA.
Prova’s patented process connects smartphone apps to a secure cloud database enabling users to access each football’s history, including manufacture date and location, whether the football was used in practice or a collegiate game, big plays and other details. Prova will release the app for free download in the Google Play store for Android users this fall, with later availability in the Apple App store.
“The days of marking footballs with ankle tape and Sharpies are long gone,” said Haroon Alvi, CEO of Prova Group. “The concept of smart chipping footballs leaves no room for error and is a game-changer for football, its fans and sports memorabilia collectors.”
“We’re excited about the ability to track our game balls with gametag,” said Greg Morgenthaler, assistant athletic director for the US Naval Academy. “The technology gametag uses is unlike anything we’ve ever seen.”