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Evolution of Sport Data: From Performance Analysis To Fan Engagement

By: Ben Jermy

Sports have always been a source of excitement, passion, and camaraderie for millions of fans worldwide. However, in recent years, the landscape of sports has experienced a significant transformation, thanks to the evolution of sports data. From enhancing performance analysis to revolutionising fan engagement, the utilisation of data has brought about a new era in the world of sports. As a pioneer in the space Stats Perform and our Opta data brand have been at the forefront of this exciting transformation and especially in football, led the way and been the catalyst for widespread change in the sport. This article will look at the evolution of sports data, from performance analysis to fan engagement, and the profound impact it has had on the sporting industry.

Performance Analysis: A Game Changer

Sports data has long been used to analyse and improve athletic performance. Traditional methods such as video recordings and basic statistics still have their place, but with technological advancements, the collection and analysis of sports data have become more sophisticated and comprehensive.

Today, athletes and coaches can leverage advanced tracking systems like Opta Vision and wearable devices like our K-Sport tech to capture vast amounts of data during training and matches. This data includes player movements, speed, distance covered, as well as predictive data like expected goals, live win probability and more. With the help of data analytics tools like Stats Perform’s Pro Vision and ISF platforms, this information can be transformed into actionable insights, enabling athletes and coaches to make informed decisions. Data can help optimise training regimes, fine-tune strategies for improved performance on match days, recruit more intelligently and much more. Some of the world’s biggest clubs use Opta data to inform their day-to-day processes and decisions.

Real Betis’ Head of Data Analysis and New Sporting Technologies Alvaro Arranz uses Stats Perform’s pro products to inform key decision making.

The Rise of Data-Driven Fan Engagement

While performance analysis remains a crucial aspect of sport data, its impact is no longer limited to the field. Sport organisations have recognised the potential for data-driven fan engagement, offering a more immersive and personalised experience for supporters.
In the digital age, fans are no longer passive observers; they crave real-time updates, interactive content, and personalised experiences. Game-day has turned into Game-week and fans demand a 24/7 multi-media approach to coverage. But this creates problems for sport content providers, there is only so many hours in the day and often a limited budget for new staff. However, Sport data has opened new avenues to cater to these demands, new ways to create vast quantities of content at scale. Tools like Stats Perform’s PressBox Live, Graphics and Video platforms help hundreds of social media accounts, mobile applications, and dedicated fan engagement platforms to leverage data to provide fans with access to live statistics, player profiles, team news, fantasy games and much more. This enables fans to stay connected, participate actively, and share their passion for their favourite sports and teams.


Starling Bank used Opta data to power their Women’s Euros fantasy game in 2022.

Belgian Newspaper Het Nieuwsblad used data to cover their national team’s road to the final in the 2016 Euros.

Sky Bet use Opta data to give fans pre match betting tips and facts to help inform decisions

Nike used data to inform the design of their boots

The Impact of AI and Machine Learning

The evolution of sport data has been further propelled by advancements in artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML). These technologies allow companies like Stats Perform to create advanced predictive models by simulating potential game scenarios and outcomes millions of times. AI-powered algorithms can predict player performance, simulate game scenarios, and identify patterns that may go unnoticed by human analysis alone. These capabilities have enhanced the accuracy and efficiency of performance analysis, leading to more informed decision-making for athletes and coaches. Additionally, these technologies have a lot to offer the world of fan engagement, AI and ML have enabled personalised recommendations, tailored content and more compelling metrics and stories for fans. These outputs go a long way towards feeding fans desire for new content and we have only just scratched the surface of what is possible. Stats Perform recently released a series of articles titled “AI in sports” where Chief Scientist Patrick Lucey dives into the AI phenomenon Chat-GPT and outlined some of it’s limitations when asked about sport. The three-part series explains that while Chat-GPT is an amazing tool it is no replacement for genuine data experts and is unable to create complex accurate insights.

Sky Sports used Stats Perform’s Opta Season Predictor to predict who was more likely to win the Premier League.

The Power of Personalisation

As technology and data evolve so do the possibilities for improved fan personalisation, think the TikTok “For You” page but for what sport/game to watch. You might think this sort of functionality isn’t possible yet but live scores apps and sports content providers are already using basic information to create personalised experience for fans.
Stats Perform’s new Smart Ratings product uses AI to help users make engaging choices across various sports using excitement ratings, live headlines and real time alerts. The tool can be used to personalise the ratings, alerts and headlines depending on which sports, teams and players each user is interested in, increasing fan engagement and tune-in rates. For example, you could send a notification to all Barcelona fans on your app explaining that excitement was building in their team’s favour after half time during El Classico, driving them to watch the game or monitor and engage with the team’s socials.

Our SmartRatings product can give fans personalised recommendations on what to watch and when

Future Possibilities

As the sport industry continues to evolve, the potential applications of sport data are vast. Emerging technologies such as virtual reality (VR) and augmented reality (AR) have the potential to take fan engagement to unprecedented heights. Imagine watching an immersive live game experience from the comfort of your own living room or being able to visualise real-time statistics overlaid on the field through AR glasses. Some of these concepts are already starting to be explored and sport fans have a lot to feel excited about.
New technologies like Stats Perform’s Opta Vision and AutoStats for Basketball are already using computer vision collection to facilitate new and exciting data points, stories and fan experiences by creating never before seen metrics and scaling and improving the data collection process.

StatsPerform’s AutoStats dashboard is expanding the data available for performance analysis making scouting more scalable and improving access to deep analysis for enhanced storytelling.

DAZN Germany used Opta Vision to elevate their Champions League coverage with new metrics like Pressures.


The evolution of sport data has transformed the way sports are played, analysed, and experienced by fans. From enhancing performance analysis and decision-making to creating personalised fan experiences, the utilisation of data continues to elevate sporting practices. As technology continues to advance, the possibilities for leveraging sport data will only expand, promising an exciting future for athletes, coaches, and fans alike.

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