In 2018, we announced that OptaPro is partnering with Birkbeck University on their Sport Management and Business of Football master’s course, supporting the delivery of a sports analytics module.
With the module getting underway at the end of April, we have shared some further information on what is involved and the key objectives of the mod.
While it is important to acknowledge that OptaPro is not an academic expert, our close partnership with Birkbeck University (and previously with Columbia University) in developing this module together has led to its accreditation and integration within the world-renowned master’s course.
The module, which can also be taken in isolation or as part of the wider master’s course, delivers an in-depth overview of the issues salient to applied sports analytics, providing a wide foundation that encapsulates both theoretical frameworks and real-world applications. The principles taught throughout the module have been designed with the student at the centre, with sessions tailored on understanding and applying new skills that can be utilised across a range of roles within professional football.
The module aims to ensure the student leaves with a greater understanding of how data and analytical processes can be used within a professional football club across recruitment, performance analysis and at a strategic level.
Alongside insight from OptaPro staff, the module also includes guest sessions from industry experts, including Liverpool FC director of research Ian Graham, Financial Times data journalist John Burn-Murdoch and analytics practitioner Garry Gelade.
Outline of the module
Lecture: Introduction to the module and the football analytics industry
The session introduces applied football analytics and its position within the wider context of this industry, sharing insight on the evolution of football analytics, and the various touchpoints in which it can be applied.
Lecture: Introduction to different technologies
This session introduces different technologies that are used within football analytics, focusing on their applications and key uses.
Lecture: Introduction to statistical models and their application in football
This session introduces a catalogue of different models and metrics, illustrating how they can be best applied within professional football.
Lecture: The importance of data visualisation
Delivered by John Burn-Murdoch, this session aims to demonstrate the importance of the visual impact of data and its influence on communicating a message.
Lecture: Collecting, databasing and analysing subjective data and the relationship with more objective data
Delivered by Garry Gelade, this session discusses the advantages and disadvantages of subjective and qualitative data.
Lecture: Using data in an applied setting
This session demonstrates how the theoretical concepts showcased in previous sessions are applied in real-world scenarios within professional football.
Lecture: Managing conversations and negotiating with decision makers
This lecture demonstrates how data and analytics can support presentations, discussions and decision-making at senior management level.
Lecture: The application of data and analytics in strategic planning
Delivered by Ian Graham (Liverpool FC), this session showcases how different analysis can lead to different conclusions, and the wider impact this can have across an entire football club.