Those running football clubs have always had the unenviable job of balancing the books whilst appeasing their team’s fanbase. Today, the footballing world continues to face the challenges of breakaway leagues, the blurring of the physical and digital worlds and the prospect of tighter restrictions on the signing of foreign youth players. What are some of the issues and opportunities that will face decision makers at clubs in the near future? We take a look below.
Using Data to Realise Squad and Player Value
Player transfer fees and wages represent the greatest expense for every team in the professional space. This will not change in the coming years as financial records (transfer fees, player wages etc) continue to be broken.
This is a growing risk for clubs as they look to stay afloat. Increased financial fair play (FFP) measures mean there will be even less room to bring in expensive players, especially those who do not improve squad quality and ultimately, results. The financial costs and risk of points deductions and relegations that come from breaking FFP rules also continue to grow.
Individuals working at the top of clubs will need to have a firm handle on the value of every player, at every age level, as well as an informed projection of the potential value of their playing talent, powered by data. Do they have talent coming through in each position? Where might there be gaps in seasons to come? Smart teams will be able to recognise problem positions early and begin to scout for options.
Most clubs will inevitably face the prospect of a bigger club coming in for players, at which point a decision needs to be made - what is the value of this player now and what will it be in seasons to come, based on performance data? Does the offer in front of me make sense? Conversely, clubs can also look at using data and video as a means of identifying undervalued players that they can bring in at a bargain price, based on their projected value.
On the individual player level, football data and analytics can be used for benchmarking. Performance information can be used to determine whether a youth prospect is developing as expected, identify those who may benefit from a loan period and find those who are closing in on a first team spot.
“We have to have an understanding of the potential of all the players at this club. Data is an increasingly important information source that allows us to understand a player’s current performance level and what it could be in future.”
Giuseppe Geria, Youth Sporting Director, Delfino Pescara Calcio
Data, AI and Performance
As an analysis provider, we focus on the importance of football data. It’s often been stated that the scoreline is the only stat that matters, but performance data can be used to find ways of more efficiently creating and finishing goal-scoring opportunities whilst highlighting how to limit those of the opposition.
As the years advance, BEPRO and others operating in the analysis space will provide a record volume of performance data and video, which itself will be analysed by artificial intelligence technologies to provide insights on how players and teams can find an edge against their competition.
Clubs will need to invest in this performance technology, as well as individuals who can effectively make use of it, or else face losing out to more technically astute rivals. Success does not come for free!
Winning in Style with Technology
Winning is the ultimate aim for any team, but fans also have an expectation of how their team approaches the game. Data and analytics increasingly provide an objective means of determining playing style, therefore allowing those without a deep practical understanding of football to know if a team is playing in a way that is in keeping with club philosophy and fan demands. See some examples of playing style data in our World Cup Report.
In the near future those in the boardroom will be able to instantly see if the senior teams’ playing style match what is expected. They will be able to see the same information for their development and youth sides to ensure the club’s footballing philosophy is being replicated across the wider club.
Original Sports Sponsorship Opportunities
Today, clubs have more sponsors than ever before, as they look for additional revenue streams. One way that clubs will be able to bring in additional funds is by increasing the number of sponsorship opportunities and providing more exposure for these commercial partners.
The key to this will be finding unexplored opportunities to find more sponsorship inventory. For example, training sessions are kept away from the general audience. This is understandable given the need to keep tactical preparations private, but there will be (video) content from every training session that is suitable for sharing - perhaps a goal or some skill - that would be of interest to fans. Through the installation of cameras in a training complex, these moments will be captured and can be shared alongside a sponsor’s logo, either as a brief pre roll, watermark or even through physical presence in the form of banners in the facility or on players’ kits.
Similarly, most clubs have many sides outside of their first team, who play matches that are not available to fans. BEPRO’s automated camera system provides the means to broadcast these games, opening up more sponsorship opportunities that bring additional revenue streams to the club.
“The cost of running our club is increasing, so we need to find new ways of generating revenue. Video streaming technology opens up new sponsorship opportunities, both for existing and new sponsors.”
Christoph Winterling, Commercial & Marketing Director, Bologna FC
Although it is impossible to know for sure what the future will hold, technology clearly provides an opportunity for those at the top of forward thinking teams to improve performances, both on the pitch and in the boardroom.
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At BEPRO, we work to develop performance tools that make a real difference to clubs around the world. We bring together a real understanding of football, the ability to develop intuitive tools powered by advanced technology and a customer-focused approach to help teams measure, understand and improve performances.