5 key takeaways from "The benefits of data ownership for leagues and federations"

07.07.21

by Editorial Staff

We recently hosted a webinar featuring Roger Muller, Chief Media and Marketing Officer at the Swiss Football League (SFL), and Hendrik Weber, Managing Director of Sportec Solutions, the sports technology joint venture created by Deltatre and the DFL. Below, you can find some of the key learnings from the session

07.07.21

by Editorial Staff

We recently hosted a webinar featuring Roger Muller, Chief Media and Marketing Officer at the Swiss Football League (SFL), and Hendrik Weber, Managing Director of Sportec Solutions, the sports technology joint venture created by Deltatre and the DFL. Below, you can find some of the key learnings from the session

To watch the webinar, click here.

1.

Data ownership makes more sense for leagues and federations now more than ever before

The sports data industry is currently undergoing significant evolution, with momentum centered around two key forces: Industry consolidation and technological progress.

Industry consolidation, with recent examples including Genius Sports’ acquisition of Second Spectrum, the STATS-Perform merge, and Sportradar acquiring Interact Sport, is a natural stage of any growth industry. However, it is likely to lead to dominance by two or three major players, and an ability to charge higher prices.

On the other hand, technological progress is lowering barriers to entry and reducing the resources needed to create a sports data collection infrastructure.

As an example, improvements in automated computer vision-powered data collection mean that it is becoming more feasible to automate the data collection process from TV screens, dramatically increasing replicability of services previously provided by the major data collection companies.

The combined effect of the two forces outlined above means that, from the perspective of a federation or league, there is both the desire and realistic ability to own their own data collection and distribution infrastructure.

2.

The SFL sees this as a huge opportunity to take control of its own data destiny

As Roger Müller said during the webinar:

“There comes a time in your existence as a league … [where] you start to develop your own ideas. The first logical step for us was to get more control and to be able to do what we wanted to do. In my experience in our world, the third-party data providers were the ones to call the shots, and they told you what you are allowed to do … with data, and it was not necessarily what you wanted.

So sooner or later, you end up in a situation where you are not satisfied anymore with what they give you. So we looked for new solutions, and that meant that we started to build resources internally in order to gain some independence and control of content.

[Should we either] stay in an old world and sell a license for data collection to a third party and then try to buy some small exploitation rights for these data sets, or should we try to build our own data infrastructure?”

3.

Sportec Solutions is an ideal partner to help leagues develop this capability, because it’s the reason it was created in the first place

Hendrik Weber:

“We don’t really see ourselves as a service provider; we’re more like a partner. We share best practices and help leagues unlock the potential in their own data and unique sports language. We start from a top-down approach, but it’s adjustable to the specific domestic needs of the various federations.”

The STS approach incorporates a flexible structure, including infrastructure setup, hardware configuration, personnel training, and ongoing technical support.

4.

Owning your own core data infrastructure can act as the springboard for further innovation

Event data underpins so many different outputs and stakeholders. Owning that core infrastructure means federations and leagues have an opportunity to benefit from greater flexibility when working with specialist technology providers and integrating them into their own workflow, rather than relying on third-party licensees working together. This also means that federations are in a position to explore new technologies without having to factor in official partners that may change at the end of a three- or four-year contractual cycle.

5.

Owning your own data collection and distribution infrastructure means federations can directly support and build closer relationships with their stakeholders

Official broadcasters, member clubs, media outlets, and commercial partners all rely on official data. By owning their own data collection and distribution infrastructure, federations are in a position to own and more efficiently commercialize those direct relationships, rather than relying on third-party organizations.