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Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics

Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics



Talk given at FSU Sports Management Conference, 30 Sept 2011. Topic was on soccer analytics and the challenges of a sports analytics startup company.

Talk given at FSU Sports Management Conference, 30 Sept 2011. Topic was on soccer analytics and the challenges of a sports analytics startup company.



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    Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics Presentation Transcript

    • Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics Howard HamiltonFounder, Soccermetrics Research & Consulting, LLC 30 September 2011
    • From Blog to StartupA post: “Moneyball and Soccer”A new soccer stat analysis blog Started attracting interest! Transition to startup company 2
    • OverviewWhat is soccer analytics? Why soccer analytics? What are its challenges?What is its current state? What is its future? 3
    • What is soccer analytics?Quantitative assessment of events related to the sport of soccer 4
    • Analytics Infrastructure Data Model Data Database Extraction Input Analysis Output Post-Process Deliverable 5
    • Why soccer analytics? Summer transfer fee payments in English Premier League, 2003-2011 (millions of British pounds) 600 500 Personnel 400 payments are 300a billion-dollar 200 endeavor 100 0 2003 2004 2005 2006 2007 2008 2009 2010 2011 Summer Year Source: Deloitte 6
    • Why soccer analytics?Systematic assessment of player and team value 7
    • Why soccer analytics? Maximize value of investmentsCreate marginal performance gains Winning Losing 8
    • Why soccer analytics? External pressures Competition Regulations 9
    • What are its limitations? Not a match predictor Not a “coach-in-a-box” Initial assumptions 10
    • No, Im not into betting! Choose your customer: Betting industry or Soccer industry Morality LegalityCantor Gaming – M Resort, Las Vegas A point to prove 11
    • What makes soccer analytics hard? Data Problem Limited Neutral Summary Analysis Problem Complex invasion team sport 12
    • Soccer Data Companies Company Location Specialty Opta Sports London Live sports data feeds Prozone Leeds, UK Real-time player (now Amisco) Nice, France and event tracking Tracab Stockholm Real-time 3D player and event trackingMatch Analysis San Francisco In-match player and event tracking 13
    • Complex Invasion Team 1 Sports Cooperative action Move object to defended position Offense/defense interdependent Continuous/segmented playSpecialized or hybrid playing roles1 Bill Gerrard, “Is the Moneyball Approach Transferable to Complex Invasion Team Sports?”, International Journal of Sport Finance, November 2007. 14
    • Examples 15
    • More Examples 16
    • What makes soccer unique?Cooperative and interdependent actions 17
    • What makes soccer unique?Hybrid offensive and defensive roles 18
    • What makes soccer unique? High level of continuous play 19
    • Soccer Analytics Challenges Technical Difficult to formulate Difficult to solve Data Sparse Restricted access Acceptance Cultural resistance 20
    • Technical Challenges What is soccer, essentially? Stochastic processes Nonlinear dynamical system Run by peopleAttempt to study rationally an irrational process Difficult to formulate Difficult to solve How good is “good enough?” 21
    • Data Challenges Sparse and neutral summary statisticsInternal data creates historical data Nonexistent before 1990s Proprietary 22
    • Open Source Data Model Basic and comprehensive database Flexible Extensible Open-source strategy Public relations Open standards Revenue sources 23
    • Acceptance ChallengesCommunicating technical information to decision-maker “Weve always done it this way” “You cant explain everything by statistics” “What do a bunch of eggheads know about football, anyway?” “What do a bunch of Americans know about football, anyway?” 24
    • Interest vs. Money Opta Sports league-specific Twitter feeds 1400 450.00 Followers/$MM TV Revenue 1200 400.00$MM TV Revenue (2010) 350.00 1000 300.00 800 250.00 600 200.00 150.00 400 100.00 200 50.00 0 0.00 Jack Joao Franz Jose Jean Paolo Joe Jack Joe Jose Jean Joao Franz Paolo Source: OnFooty.com (Sarah Rudd) Europe: Where the money is USA: Where the stats culture is 25
    • Improving the Climate for Analytics Education process required for analysts and end-usersCustomers dont always know what they want vis-à-vis analyticsAnalysts need to communicate ideas to customers in non-technical language Be open about the limitations Danger of overselling 26
    • Soccer Analytics: Current StateClubs have more in-match data Current level of analysis: Micro-level events (tabulations/averages) Video overlay Clubs use small proportion of match data 27
    • Soccer Analytics: Current StateDebate over utility of some metrics Distance run over a match Time of possession Number of tackles Goals-against average Difficult to develop metrics for “non-glamour” positions Complex problem, slow progress 28
    • Soccer Analytics Blogs Blog Title Author Location Soccer by the Chris Anderson Ithaca, NY Numbers On Football Sarah Rudd Seattle, WA Soccer Statistically Ford Bohrmann Seattle, WA11tegen11 (11 on 11) ? Netherlands Rational Football ? Denmark SoccerAnalysts.com An aggregation of soccer analytics websites and blogs 29
    • Soccer Analytics Firms Company Location StatDNA Chicago, IL Chimu Solutions Chicago, IL PowerStats San Diego, CA AIMFútbol Santiago, ChileSports Statistical Reviews Ltd Southampton, UK 30
    • Future of Soccer Analytics Integration with other aspects of sports performance Formation of a truly global transfer market Psychology y og Eq Pla ipm iol u ys y i n ent AthleticPh g Performance Te c s Sk hni ti c ills ca e l en G 31
    • Developing a Sports Analytics Startup Funding Market Product Infrastructure Network First Client 32
    • But before you start... Passion absolutely required! Bootstrapping essential Part-time vs. Full-time “Market Value” vs. Reality Interesting vs. Compelling Exit? What exit?? 33
    • SummaryChallenges in soccer analytics Nature of the game Traditional attitudes Proceed from first principles Be openThe history of sports analytics continues to be written 34
    • Thank you!Howard H. Hamilton, Ph.D. Founder www.soccermetrics.net info@soccermetrics.net Twitter: @soccermetrics 35