Entrepreneurship and       Soccer Analytics                          Howard HamiltonFounder, Soccermetrics Research & Cons...
From Blog to StartupA post: “Moneyball and Soccer”A new soccer stat analysis blog      Started attracting interest!  Trans...
OverviewWhat is soccer analytics?  Why soccer analytics? What are its challenges?What is its current state?       What is ...
What is soccer analytics?Quantitative assessment of events    related to the sport of soccer                              ...
Analytics Infrastructure        Data Model     Data      Database         Extraction         Input          Analysis      ...
Why soccer analytics?                              Summer transfer fee                              payments in English   ...
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                     ...
What are its limitations?          Not a match predictor         Not a “coach-in-a-box”             Initial assumptions   ...
No, Im not into betting!                       Choose your customer:                                         Betting indus...
What makes soccer  analytics hard?              Data Problem                      Limited                      Neutral    ...
Soccer Data Companies     Company          Location           Specialty  Opta Sports          London       Live sports dat...
Complex Invasion Team                      1               Sports                Cooperative action Move object to defende...
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          ...
Technical Challenges           What is soccer, essentially?                      Stochastic processes                Nonli...
Data Challenges         Sparse and neutral         summary statisticsInternal data creates historical data            None...
Open Source Data Model Basic and comprehensive database                           Flexible                         Extensi...
Acceptance ChallengesCommunicating technical information to                       decision-maker       “Weve always done i...
Interest vs. Money                               Opta Sports league-specific Twitter feeds                        1400    ...
Improving the Climate        for Analytics  Education process required for         analysts and end-usersCustomers dont al...
Soccer Analytics:       Current StateClubs have more in-match data      Current level of analysis:                Micro-le...
Soccer Analytics:          Current StateDebate over utility of some metrics            Distance run over a match          ...
Soccer Analytics Blogs         Blog Title           Author         Location      Soccer by the     Chris Anderson       It...
Soccer Analytics Firms                     Company             Location                     StatDNA          Chicago, IL  ...
Future of Soccer                                             Analytics         Integration with other aspects of          ...
Developing a Sports  Analytics Startup                Funding                  Market                Product          Infr...
But before you start...   Passion absolutely required!        Bootstrapping essential          Part-time vs. Full-time    ...
SummaryChallenges in soccer analytics              Nature of the game              Traditional attitudes Proceed from firs...
Thank you!Howard H. Hamilton, Ph.D.                   Founder     www.soccermetrics.net    info@soccermetrics.net    Twitt...
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Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics

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

Published in: Sports, News & Politics

Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics

  1. 1. Entrepreneurship and Soccer Analytics Howard HamiltonFounder, Soccermetrics Research & Consulting, LLC 30 September 2011
  2. 2. From Blog to StartupA post: “Moneyball and Soccer”A new soccer stat analysis blog Started attracting interest! Transition to startup company 2
  3. 3. OverviewWhat is soccer analytics? Why soccer analytics? What are its challenges?What is its current state? What is its future? 3
  4. 4. What is soccer analytics?Quantitative assessment of events related to the sport of soccer 4
  5. 5. Analytics Infrastructure Data Model Data Database Extraction Input Analysis Output Post-Process Deliverable 5
  6. 6. 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
  7. 7. Why soccer analytics?Systematic assessment of player and team value 7
  8. 8. Why soccer analytics? Maximize value of investmentsCreate marginal performance gains Winning Losing 8
  9. 9. Why soccer analytics? External pressures Competition Regulations 9
  10. 10. What are its limitations? Not a match predictor Not a “coach-in-a-box” Initial assumptions 10
  11. 11. 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
  12. 12. What makes soccer analytics hard? Data Problem Limited Neutral Summary Analysis Problem Complex invasion team sport 12
  13. 13. 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
  14. 14. 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
  15. 15. Examples 15
  16. 16. More Examples 16
  17. 17. What makes soccer unique?Cooperative and interdependent actions 17
  18. 18. What makes soccer unique?Hybrid offensive and defensive roles 18
  19. 19. What makes soccer unique? High level of continuous play 19
  20. 20. Soccer Analytics Challenges Technical Difficult to formulate Difficult to solve Data Sparse Restricted access Acceptance Cultural resistance 20
  21. 21. 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
  22. 22. Data Challenges Sparse and neutral summary statisticsInternal data creates historical data Nonexistent before 1990s Proprietary 22
  23. 23. Open Source Data Model Basic and comprehensive database Flexible Extensible Open-source strategy Public relations Open standards Revenue sources 23
  24. 24. 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
  25. 25. 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
  26. 26. 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
  27. 27. 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
  28. 28. 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
  29. 29. 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
  30. 30. 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
  31. 31. 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
  32. 32. Developing a Sports Analytics Startup Funding Market Product Infrastructure Network First Client 32
  33. 33. 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
  34. 34. 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
  35. 35. Thank you!Howard H. Hamilton, Ph.D. Founder www.soccermetrics.net info@soccermetrics.net Twitter: @soccermetrics 35

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