“Opta Data is the backbone of our fantasy app”
Johannes Feldges opened The (R)Evolution of Data masterclass at SPOBIS with the powerful statement you see above. This statement aptly summarised and set the tone for the session which brought together representatives from four German football powerhouses to discuss the ongoing revolution of data in football, tracing its origins, current state, and future trajectory. Johannes app Kickbase relies heavily on Opta data to power it’s extremely popular Bundesliga fantasy game, having been an Opta user for several years the data is naturally integral to the very structure of the app. After explaining this to the audience Johannes continued by highlighting the profound impact of data in sports in general, drawing parallels with Billy Beane and Paul DePodesta, whose ground-breaking statistical approach to the 2002 Oakland Athletics team, as portrayed in the beloved baseball film “Moneyball,” forever changed the game.
Similarly to Johannes each of the panellists had something to say about Opta and their history with data as an organisation.
Joining Johannes on stage were data experts:
- Philipp Ertl – Stats Perform, Data Insights Manager DACH
- Björn Rohwer – kicker, Datenredaktion
- Frederik Tappe – DAZN, Regional Graphics Supervisor
“We take a more conservative approach to explaining new metrics to fans, releasing data deep dives throughout the off season to get fans familiarised”.
The session moved from the history of data to the topic of new metrics, Johannes asked the panel how they effectively communicate new metrics to fans whilst simultaneously avoiding the “overwhelming problem”. Björn explained that kicker “take a more conservative approach to explaining new metrics to fans, releasing data deep dives throughout the off season to get fans familiarised”. They also spend time educating their journalists ensuring that even their more traditional less data focused writers can understand and communicate new metrics to everyday football fans.
Building upon Björn’s perspective, Frederik stressed the importance of properly introducing and explaining new metrics to pundits and hosts before their use in DAZN broadcasts. He highlighted video content as an effective medium for conveying complex data, giving broadcasters an advantage in explaining new concepts, Tappe summarised the importance of stats to DAZN by stating “At DAZN, we do not only want to broadcast soccer, want to explain soccer – everyone can see goals – but for our approach we need deeper data that exceeds standard”. Frederik further praised Stats Perform’s PressBox Live tool, which empowers pundits during live broadcasts by easily extracting relevant data and facts from a comprehensive dashboard, eliminating the need to spend hours sifting through information.
Philipp expanded on the role of Stats Perform in supporting major broadcasters worldwide, highlighting their close relationship and the utilization of the live helpdesk in PressBox Live. Broadcasters can directly message Stats Perform’s data insights team during live broadcasts, seeking assistance with data questions and inquiries about new metrics. Additionally, Philipp mentioned the contribution of platforms like The Opta Analyst and Twitter accounts such as OptaJoe and OptaFranz in educating fans and explaining new metrics.
“Opta’s data collection for the women’s game being on par with their men’s is vital when creating the first 24 hour linear live channel for women’s sport”
The conversation shifted from new metrics to new fans and a new audience altogether. With the Women’s World Cup on the horizon Johannes was keen to hear about data in women’s football and how it compares to the men’s game. Philipp assured the audience that data collection and insights in women’s football are on par with the men’s game. He revealed that Stats Perform will be deploying their largest-ever team of journalists to cover the upcoming Women’s World Cup, providing live news, videos, and insights directly from the action.
When asked about kicker’s strategies for captivating the attention of the growing women’s football audience, Björn explained their integration of live data for the Women’s Bundesliga 1st and 2nd divisions. Additionally, they released match preview sheets equivalent to those for men’s matches, resulting in more articles. Björn also tantalized the audience with news of an upcoming dedicated Women’s World Cup edition of kicker magazine. He explained that this was a completely demand driven decision after seeing “a steep YoY increase in page accesses for women’s sports, especially with a push through the women’s euros – there was a 60% increase in page accesses related to women’s articles”
Regarding DAZN’s efforts in promoting women’s sports, Frederik discussed their new streaming program, Rise. He proudly announced that Rise is the first-ever 24-hour linear live channel exclusively dedicated to women’s sports and emphasized the importance of data parity; “Opta’s data collection for the women’s game being on par with their men’s is vital when creating the first 24 hour linear live channel for women’s sport”.
“Opta Vision offers countless new opportunities to interact with fans and thereby also market players, teams, leagues and associations.”
The grand finale of the masterclass was the Opta Vision showcase. Attendees were treated to a video demonstration of Stats Perform’s latest product: Opta Vision, which merges tracking and event data to introduce innovative metrics like Pressures and Line Breaking Passes. Philipp provided further details about the product and engaged with audience questions, stating “Opta Vision offers countless new opportunities to interact with fans and thereby also market players, teams, leagues and associations.”
Learn more about Opta Vision.
In summary, the panel’s discussion at the SPOBIS conference underscored the transformative journey of data in football. From its revolutionary impact on tactics to its role in shaping the fan experience, data continues to change and determine the sport’s landscape. The experts from Stats Perform, Kickbase, kicker, and DAZN demonstrated their dedication to providing comprehensive insights to fans, pundits, and broadcasters alike. With a particular focus on women’s football and the integration of predictive analytics, the panel showcased the ongoing evolution of data and its significance in the world’s most beloved sport.
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