Stats Perform is pleased to announce the return of the Opta Forum in 2024, with submissions to present in the event’s Pro Track now being accepted.
For the second successive year the Opta Forum will take place in the heart of the City of London, on Wednesday 20th March, welcoming 500 football industry professionals.
The intelligent application of data analytics, to inform and positively impact on-field performance, remains one of the fastest growing elements of modern professional football. Many of the leading proponents in this space, now proactively driving innovation in their roles at leading teams, have participated in the Opta Forum research competition previously and shared key findings from their own successful proposals.
It is this calibre of research, showcased every year at the Opta Forum, which offers club delegates a rare opportunity to step away from their day-to-day working environment and reflect on alternative approaches to specific areas of analysis and recruitment profiling, to both challenge and reaffirm existing processes.
The 2024 Pro Track Research Questions
At Stats Perform, one of our major goals is ensuring that each Opta Forum research presentation addresses a key challenge, relating to either recruitment or performance analysis, which can be applied across a broad range of clubs, regardless of size and infrastructure.
With this in mind, candidates putting forward proposals will have the opportunity to work with AI-enriched Opta Vision data, Stats Perform’s most sophisticated performance metrics, to propose novel solutions to their specific area of research.
As in previous years, we have invited a leading industry practitioner to also put forward a research question relevant to informing a key workflow in a real-life setting. The question this year is being set by Parma’s Chief Performance and Analytics Officer, Mathieu Lacome, who together with the club’s wider data science team will also act as a mentor to the author(s) of the winning submission in Parma’s category.
For all abstract submissions, we have again partnered with LFP – the French Football League, who will be making a 100-game anonymised dataset from the Ligue 1 Uber Eats competition available for successful applicants.
Submissions that cover any of the below will be considered:
– Open submission: Opta event data
– Open submission: Opta event, Opta tracking and merged Opta Vision data
– Parma-led proposal:
Categorising Player Styles To Support Recruitment Profiling
The identification and grouping of players, based on performance traits specific to individual roles in a game model, is a fundamental requirement for quantitative recruitment profiling.
Using a combination of Opta Vision events, and spatial tracking data captured for all on-field players, propose a method for categorising players, based on role-specific performance traits, to group similar stylistic players to help enhance a recruitment profiling pipeline.
The research competition will be split into two stages.
- From now until Wednesday 3rd January 2024, candidates must submit an initial proposal (2 pages of A4 max, in a word format). To assist with preparing an initial submission, candidates can request access to a small data sample of matches specific to the category (or categories) they wish to enter.
- After 3rd January, the proposals judged to be the strongest across every category will then proceed to a second stage, where candidates will have five weeks to start building out their projects, using an expanded dataset, and submit presentations outlining their initial findings.
To access any of the sample datasets, please email email@example.com with ‘Opta Forum 2024 data request’ as the subject. As well as indicating the data sample you require, the email body should include a very brief introduction to your idea or proposal.
Key Information: Stage One
Entries will be judged on the following criteria:
Innovation: Is the idea new? Has it been seen or tried before? Has it even been thought about or discussed before?
Relevance: How useful is this research to professional teams? Does it answer the ‘so what?’ question?
Application: How can this research be applied by a club? This may relate to recruitment processes, tactical analysis, player development pathways or additional areas.
Deadline for Submissions: Wednesday 3rd January 2024.
Successful entries, recommended for progression to stage two, will be notified by Friday 12th January 2024.
Key Information: Stage Two
After being provided with the expanded dataset to build out your preliminary research, you will be required to submit the following:
- A Google Colab notebook, to showcase your analysis and method.
- A 5-10 minute video presentation to describe your method.
- A Powerpoint presentation.
Deadline for Second Submissions: Monday 19th February 2024.
The strongest entries, across all three categories, will be invited to continue their work and present their findings on stage at the Opta Forum in London on 20th March. The remaining candidates involved in stage two, but not selected for presentation, will also be given the opportunity to present their results on a poster display in London.
What to Include In Your Initial Proposal?
Your proposal should focus on answering the specific question, sharing insight on the approach taken and how this research can be applied within the professional environment and crucially, how it can help teams win.
Candidates should avoid submitting proposals which adopt approaches and methodologies which have already been showcased at previous editions of the Forum and other analytics events, unless they are explicitly looking to build-on and enhance existing work.
In addition, if your proposal applies tracking data in the methodology, please remember that your final findings will need to be anonymised if your project is selected for presentation in London.
Proposals should include the information below, be a maximum of two pages and sent in a Word document. Images, videos and external links can be included along with any other relevant information.
– Contact information
– Are you submitting on behalf of a commercial organisation (yes/no)
– Submission category
– Title of project
– Research question
– Objective of this research
– Rationale for chosen topic
– Your approach to answering this question
– The applications of this research within a professional football environment and how this work will help teams win
Please submit proposals via email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
Need Further Information?
For more information on the 2024 Opta Forum, including examples of previous presentations at the event, please contact email@example.com.