Liverpool was the big winner of the 2019 Champions League. By beating Tottenham 2-0, the Anfield team crowned the use of an innovative strategy in world football: using Big Data to bring intelligence to the decisions.
While sports like baseball and basketball use data analysis for years to improve team efficiency, until recently this practice was overlooked in football. With the start of the Women’s World Cup, we will have the opportunity to see Big Data again on the pitch.
Big Data: How Data Analysis Can Help In and Out of the Field
In the pitch: performance analysis
Vests, cleats, chips on the ball, heat maps. The amount of data collected in a football match is gigantic. After the data collection, the data goes to a platform and is thoroughly analyzed by the technical team, which extracts metrics such as distance traveled, speed, resistance, completion of passes, recovery rate, the possibility of injury, etc.
The Dutch women’s team has already adopted the practice. In 2017, in the Eurocopa, the first tests were made next to Leiden University. The result? The first Dutch title in the competition.
“We are always looking for ways to improve our chances. This approach will provide data that will take us further than before. It will be very interesting and we are looking forward to the results. “Says Sarina Wiegman, coach of the Orange team.
Off-field: effective, assertive and creative management
Data-driven management has been a big differential in hiring teams. Naby Keïta, Guinean midfielder, was found in the Austrian championship after standing out in a statistic: correct crossings. Hired by Liverpool, he is now among the most valued players in Europe.
“We know that someone spent hours studying that content, but the coach does not fill people with statistics and analysis. He just tells us what to do, “says Liverpool midfielder Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain.
A recent product of Big Data in football is the concept of “expected goals” (xG). The xG is a metric used to determine if a player should be expected to score a goal in a situation. It is calculated from the analysis of each kick a player makes and assigns him an expected value. The next step involves comparing these values between the matches and making observations about the player and team performance.
This type of analysis facilitates the assembly of the teams and tactical schemes that extract the best of each athlete, facilitating the execution of beautiful and effective soccer. In a market that has moved € 28.5 billion in Europe in 2018, every information can be crucial.
Match Day: Big Data revolutionizing the fan experience
“Match Day” is a term used by sports people to analyze the supporter’s experience on the day of a sporting event. The concept aims to maximize information from the moment the supporter receives the insight of watching the match until the moment he returns home after the game to propose improvements to the experience.
Big Data has been a powerful ally of the teams in this review. In addition to the pre-match actions, such as specific promotions for particular types of clients or club members, Match Day has its most important utility in the surrounding area.
Recently the installation of WiFi and 4.5G networks in the main stadiums in Brazil was completed. The use of such networks can be an important source of data. To each connected fan, the system requests a series of information that helps in the composition of a fan profile. Through WiFi, in applications such as Zoox Media, the fan can be exposed to targeted advertising campaigns, directing it to stores, events or actions within the stadium.
The heat map of the connections can also help clubs understand the flow inside the stadiums. Where does each fan come from? What are the meeting points? Where rival twists can have problems? This type of information can help not only sales but also the security and management of stadiums.
Women’s Soccer World Cup
The Women’s Soccer World Cup started on June 7 in France and has 52 matches. According to the Organizing Committee of the event, more than 1 million tickets have already been sold to the event.
The U. S., Germany, Australia, France, Holland, and Brazil are the sensations and compete for the title of favorites. Will Big Data make the title goal?