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The Assist Goes To Big Data

MFG Archive

Big data provides the winning edge in the 2014 World Cup

Following on from our last post about data at the World Cup, which looked at Nike’s New Data Driven Football Jersey, we thought we would examine the role of data in performance management.

In Information Week, Rob Kasabian reminds us that “it’s easy to overlook the fact that every kick, pass, steal, and goal is just one in a series of more than 2,000 ‘events’ that take place during each game.” This provides managers and coaches with more data than ever before.

However, “To make sense of all this information, clubs are using new big-data analytics technologies to improve their team personnel and on-field performance.” As an example, Kasabian points to “goal-line and ball-tracking technology that can measure the tendencies of players in very specific situations.” This kind of information leads to a much richer knowledge of team tactics, and predicting player reactions. In a competitive global sport where the pride of nations is at stake – let alone the vast riches that tend to accompany sporting success – this kind of edge can be what separates a narrow defeat from winning the World Cup Final.

Kasabian’s research goes deeper than just the World Cup, declaring that the “German club TSG Hoffenheim is placing sensors in shin guards, clothing, and even the ball itself to collect more than 60 million positional records per match, including speed averages, ball possession, and other player tendencies.”

This explosion of big data in football highlights the gains that coaches and players alike will benefit from, and should most certainly act as learning and inspiration for those of us in the Markets For Good movement.


Be sure to stay up to date with Information Week via Twitter, and the article’s author, Rob Kasabian. Do let us know if you have any interesting data and World Cup (or Wimbledon!) articles, and hopefully we can feature them as well.