Ahead of Saturday’s UEFA Champions League final between Real Madrid and Liverpool, excited fans of both clubs are sure to be scanning the media for the latest team news, expected line ups and all the key statistics ahead of what promises to be a pulsating final.
As technology continues to improve, the use of data in sport is an increasingly popular and essential facet of the industry. The range of data now available is breath-taking, whether it be the number of key passes Toni Kroos has made in the final third of the pitch or the number of goals Mohammed Salah has scored on counter attacks, Opta data can tell fans pretty much anything they want. No matter where in the world you are, no matter which sport you enjoy most, and no matter which team you follow most fervently, the ways in which we consume sport are changing.
Data is being used increasingly frequently to tell the story of a half, a match, or even a season, and more often than not, this data will be supplied by Opta Sports. Opta is a fellow division of Perform Group, and, similar to DAZN, sets out to provide sports fans with the very best content and coverage in the world.
So how does Opta work?
Opta’s data is recorded, analysed and distributed through a bespoke system that allows them to provide their data quickly, reliably and securely to their customers through a range of solutions. The thorough process begins with the data collection itself, which is carried out by expert data analysts in hubs located around the world, as well as being supported by in-stadium analysts. Opta use high-tech software to record all of the action to the highest level of detail, live, and cover 30 sports across 70 different countries.
Opta x DAZN
Every sports fan in the world has been watching a game in which a commentator has reeled off a number of interesting statistics about a certain player or team. As DAZN is a broadcaster, a lot of the work Opta do with DAZN involves supplying these commentators with these very statistics.
Opta’s Rob Bateman, SVP of Data Editorial, Analytics and Innovation, gave us a more profound and detailed insight into how this works. “A lot of the work we do with DAZN involves our data editorial team. Essentially these guys work with the producers and directors in advance of the event to provide preview material to give commentators facts about the players and teams taking part.”
DAZN does things differently to normal sports broadcasters. As a platform that runs an unprecedented number of live and on-demand events across a number of different markets every single day, we use a lot of automated Opta content to tell the story of the match due to this sheer volume of games on the DAZN platform at any one time. These largely come in the form of graphics placed on screen before the game, during half time and post-game, and are designed to enhance the viewer’s experience without the in-depth, sometimes debatable analysis of ex-pro’s akin to other broadcasters.
As important as preview and preparation prior to the game is for commentators and the data team, one thing certain about live sport is that nobody can predict exactly what will happen. Rob tells us that a “significant part of the data editorial teams job is to find stats quickly that are applicable to the game.” These data editors have a direct line through to the commentators and are able to react to how the game is going before their eyes.
“For example, if a player has scored two goals and is on a hat-trick, the data team can research the database and find the last time that a specific player scored a hat-trick, or the last time there was a hat-trick in this particular fixture, before relaying that through to the commentator to tell the fans.”
DAZN has a number of these data editorial teams worldwide, from a headquarters in Leeds to offices in each of the territories in which DAZN operates. The dedicated Opta team covering the world’s top leagues and supporting DAZN’s data editors made up of around 80 staff and works across all sports and competitions, creating content for pre-game, half-time and post-game analysis.