Do you know how much data is captured during an average Bundesliga game? It amounts to almost four million pieces of data – more than 40,000 pieces of data are collected every minute of play. The importance of match data used for game preparation, follow-up and analysis is continuously growing. The DFL has set the course for the future early on, creating exciting new content for fans, media and marketing partners.
In 2016, a subsidiary company was established with Sportec Solutions GmbH, combining the collection, evaluation and distribution of official match data. This was the logical “next step” of development, finding its origin in 2011 alongside the “official match data” project, standardizing and improving detection quality. In the form of an official bid for the Bundesliga and the second Bundesliga, the DFL worked with various partners on match data collection and marketing.
The Sportec Solution GmbH based in Cologne acts as joint venture between the DFL group and deltatre, a global leader in the field of data collection of game data and sport technology. The DFL holds 75 percent of the shares, while deltatre holds the remaining 25 percent. Since the start of the current 2017-18 season, Sportec Solution has been responsible for the collection, storage and delivery of the official match data of the DFL. It also acts as an essential part of the supply chain of the DFL as a media company. In the first half year of its existence, Sportec has already collected 1.2 billion pieces of data.
“As one of the greatest sport leagues worldwide, we see ourselves as drivers of innovation on a national and international scale,” says Dr. Hendrik Weber, one of the three CEOs of Sportec Solutions GmbH, alongside Josef Nehl (Sportcast) and Christian Holzer (deltatre), and Head of Technology & Innovation of the DFL.
The objectives include the introduction of standards and definitions, the warranty of high data quality as foundation for game analysis and scouting for all 36 professional clubs, as well as the creation of compelling and innovative content for media partners and license holders.
The following four types of data are being recorded and processed:
- Master data, such as names of athletes, official clubs and stadiums
- Match information data, such as kick-off times, number of viewers, weather conditions and line-ups
- Match event data, goals scored, passes, duels and shots at goal; five analysts per game from Sportec Solutions will focus on the collection and quality control of the data
- Tracking data, collected during every Bundesliga and second Bundesliga game with the help of a semi-automatic image recognition system, which uses six high-resolution cameras
The foundation for the official match data, delivered to clubs, license holders, partners and clients by the DFL constitutes the official Bundesliga database, one of the most extensive sources for sport activities. Since 1963, all goals, red cards and much more have been deposited in the database. With meticulous effort, all pieces of data have been validated with the official scorecards and other third party sources.
One of the primary objectives of the DFL is to support the clubs by providing them with data acquired from the cutting-edge analysis methods, helpful for the improvement of athletic performance. Yet, there is still a lot of room for further innovation. “In the future, the evaluation and delivery of official match data will be more individualized,” says CEO Holzer, Managing Director at Deltatre. Sportec Solutions is already working in close proximity with renowned companies, universities and experts on developing new algorithms and performance indicators. Alongside ChyronHego, Sportec Solutions is also working on the development of the next generation of tracking systems.
How the collected data will be evaluated is specified by the principle of consistency in the “definitions catalogue for official match data.” A nearly 100-page catalogue sets the foundation of data collection and was developed in collaboration with the DFL, its clubs, universities and data experts. The 2,200 different types of shots at goal are listed in the database with the detailed first shot up to where the ball landed. All collected data is being recorded in the official Bundesliga database, where it is then delivered to customers. DFL’s own database is the centerpiece of the operation – the entire infrastructure is being coordinated by the DFL.
As we look ahead, one aspect in particular will be of utmost importance: the “enhancing” of data. What content can be derived from a simple figure? What is the context? What knowledge emerges? How can we reasonably interpret the numbers? In the future, “data-based storytelling” will be used to market the Bundesliga. With help of Sportec Solutions, the DFL is fully prepared for the challenges ahead.