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Why the Spanish Soccer League LaLiga Publishes Competition Data to Fans: Utilizing Data in Sports part 1

Genki Daido
Genki Daido
Sales Developer

Evolution of Devices and Potential Applications of Data

The world of professional sports is in the middle of a data revolution. One of the noteworthy topics is the potential applications of competition data.

In professional sports the pursuit of higher performance has driven the evolution of data acquisition devices. Today, the sports industry can obtain unprecedented amounts of data, with a trend to utilize it to enhance fan engagement and assist management in decision-making, such as player acquisitions.

It's important to note that technology is revolutionizing not only the field of sports but also the business side of it. Content based on match analysis and player performance data captivates fans. For management, utilizing data enables more effective strategic planning. Morph Beta 2

This time, we will look at the example of LaLiga, Spain's professional soccer league.

The Importance of the "Five Days Without Matches"

Soccer is a high-intensity sport, and for a healthy league operation, holding one to two matches a week is the limit. Therefore, LaLiga aims to captivate fans even during non-match times. Specifically, they are deepening connections with fans by utilizing data to provide new content through online platforms.

By leveraging data, they can create various new content formats beyond just video. This allows them to approach a fan base that is not satisfied with just match footage. For example, by offering data-driven content like match analysis and player performance statistics, they keep fans' interest alive.

The five days without matches are crucial for fans to maintain their interest in the games and look forward to the next match. During this time, the goal is for fans to spend time online, increasing their interest in LaLiga.

So, why does LaLiga want to captivate fans even during non-match times?

LaLiga's revenue mainly comes from broadcasting rights, sponsorships, and ticket sales — all of which are tied to fan popularity. Therefore, fan popularity has a significant impact on revenue, making it necessary to continuously captivate fans.

Big Data Utilization: Beyond Stats

LaLiga and Microsoft have launched Beyond Stats, a fan-oriented data portal that leverages big data to offer new fan experiences.

Each stadium is equipped with up to 19 high-resolution fixed optical tracking cameras, which generate real-time data for each match. These cameras track the positions of the ball, players, and referees, recording their locations at an astonishing speed of 25 times per second, generating over 3.5 million data points per match. This vast data is analyzed using AI and machine learning capabilities from Microsoft Azure, and the results are displayed on Beyond Stats.

Fans can access detailed information from various angles, such as weekly reports, individual reports, and team reports, presented in easy-to-understand graphics and edited videos. For instance, videos with graphics might show the probability of a goal given the position of defenders and the goalkeeper from a specific angle, making the data visually engaging and easy to understand. Morph Beta 2

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Collaboration with Microsoft

According to a Microsoft article, Azure's diverse portfolio of cloud solutions fits LaLiga's digital transformation needs, serving not just as a technology solution but as a comprehensive IT partner.

Azure's cloud solutions offer extensive functionalities, from data management & analysis to security. This enables LaLiga to advance digitalization in all aspects, from match data analysis to fan engagement.

In essence, the entry into the sports industry, where massive amounts of data are generated, is undoubtedly appealing to technology companies.

AI Initiatives

LaLiga analyzes digital consumption trends, recognizing a significant shift from text-based communication to voice-based interactions and conversational AI. To adapt to this shift, they developed a bot with conversational AI, allowing fans to access information about LaLiga in a natural, human-like interaction rather than navigating an app. This bot is designed to provide a consistent, high-quality fan experience across all major voice channels, offering player photos, basic statistics, match results links, and options for more detailed information, targeting both avid and casual fans.

The bot was developed using Azure Bot Service and Microsoft Bot Framework, incorporating Azure Cognitive Service and various other Azure tools. Morph Beta 2

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Why Morph Focuses on Utilizing Data in Sports

Morph is collaborating with the football club "SHIBUYA CITY FC," which aims to join the J-League from Shibuya, to promote the use of athlete data.

However, compared to plethora of devices that collect athlete data, software to effectively utilize that data is still developing, and there is room for improvement.

In this context, Morph can effectively fill the gap between data collection and utilization, providing a flexible tool for data utilization.

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