After something important happens during a football match, the commentator mentions a key stat which makes you wonder how does he know all this.
How could he prepare for this sort of situation?
Did he really expect this to happen?
We have to admit that commentators do their research, but they do rely on live updates from football statistics companies to point out those great stats at the right time.
Performance Data Collection
We can find many companies that are offering sport stats services these days. They work in a different ways but in the end they provide useful data to clubs, media and fans. We’re gonna take a look at how Opta does it.
For each game they need three men following the match using their semi-automated software: one guy follows the home side, the other watches the away team and the third one is backup – rechecks things that might have been unclear.
Using hotkeys and mouse clicks they track the ball and what happens with it.
Let’s say Fellaini picks it up in his own area and passes it to Mata; They set where Fellaini picks it up on the pitch and where Mata receives it.
The software records those coordinates and transforms them into complex data, simulating what happens inbetween.
Each match produces between 1,600 and 2,000 pieces of data which Opta repackages and delivers through feeds to broadcasters, media and others.
The guys in charge of the feeds get into more than what happens on the pitch. They also check player or team records every time an important fact appears during a game, and then quickly post the key info discovered on the feeds so that commentators can pick them up and use them while the action is still hot.
In the following video you will see what a day at the office looks like for these guys: