Empty stands come to life with Autograph Sound 

Autograph Sound has been able to add atmosphere to the game for clubs affected by Covid-19 who have been forced to play behind closed doors or with restricted crowd numbers. 

Even without fans at full capacity, Leeds United and Queens Park Rangers from the Premier League and Championship respectively have partnered with Autograph Sound to generate a realistic atmosphere for their home games as clubs across the UK continue to play without supporters.

Covid-19 has proven to be unpredictable with inconsistency surrounding the number of fans being able to attend events, depending on the current climate. With Autograph, the sound can remain the same.

The UK-based sound operator has been running for nearly 50 years, expanding to football from previous work in the musical theatre and play industry. They’ve been able to support clubs with authentic cheers and chants that you’d normally hear on gameday. 

Lockdowns in the UK meant that theatres were closed to the public, prompting Autograph to utilise their equipment in a different way. As football matches remained in play for professional clubs, the technology headed to empty stadiums. 

Normally if you hear crowd noise with no spectators, it is done through the broadcaster. Autograph wanted to allow players, coaches and other staff to feel that same sense of realism, albeit with artificial noise. 

Using staff from previous projects, Autograph got together with Leeds and QPR to create chants that can spread from multiple sections of the stadium. Watford FC goalkeeper Ben Foster does weekly videos for his YouTube channel where you can hear the QPR sounds in action via his GoPro when he played in goal away at the Kiyan Prince Foundation Stadium (Loftus Road). 

Noise can be heard for the pre-game build up, especially for a club like Leeds who have their own ‘Marching On Together’ song, as well as adapting to match scenarios throughout the 90 minutes such as goals. 

Autograph collaborated with Fan Chants, a company that built a library of 26,000 unique football songs around the world. The extensive collection of sounds ensures that chants are naturally different with a great mix that you’d hear in normal circumstances. 

Autograph will designate at least three people to a game so that they’re switched on to passages of play. Multiple computers can be used to control separate components of noise, with individual staff members to utilise the software.  

The first of these staff control intensity levels, where sound is altered accordingly to situations in a match – scoring a last-minute winner will be significantly higher for instance. A second person can monitor club-specific chants that can reflect the excitement they’d usually feel. If a team is pushing hard on a counter attack, the crowd will lift accordingly. A third staff member has extra control to anticipate key moments for goals, corners, cards and any other game-changing moments. They can even adjust to VAR decisions with a cancel button for goals which have tentatively been given.  

Games can be unpredictable at times, so the comprehensive coverage aims to make noise as free-flowing and realistic as possible to ensure sounds are adaptable to any situation. 

Clubs in the UK have only been able to welcome back up to 2,000 fans at a time throughout the 2020/21 season, but they’re currently back to no spectators at all. 

Even in the event of limited capacity in stadiums, the atmosphere is of course not as good. A partner like Autograph can deliver sounds of the game to help take your mind off the missing void of fans due to COVID-19. 

Autograph are looking to work long-term with UK-based clubs to add crowd noise for games now and for the unforeseeable future with limited to no spectators in attendance. It’s a project that can enhance the overall feel of matches, where players and coaches can get the same level of excitement as someone would at home. 

COVID-19 has been a challenging pandemic for nations across Europe, so Autograph are aiming to assist more clubs and leagues who are interested in getting their chants amplified in their home stadiums. 

Until COVID-19 is fully under control, Autograph’s sound software is one way of getting around the unique and tricky situation of affected crowd numbers if lockdowns for sporting events are forced upon us. 

You can find out more on Autograph Sound here. 

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Liam Watson is the Co-Founder & Publisher of Soccerscene. He reports widely on football policy, industry matters and technology.

Sydney FC to utilise AI technologies with Bigtincan

Sydney FC has confirmed a ground-breaking partnership with AI-powered sales platform Bigtincan to improve fan engagement, plus player and coach development using the technology’s capabilities.

As a result of this partnership, Bigtincan will deliver a branded platform to enhance the performance of individuals and teams throughout the Sydney FC organisation.

Using AI, the company will leverage things like a player app for personalized skill development and coaching messages translated into multiple languages. Bigtincan will also help the club organise documents and information in a unified place for seamless access.

Bigtincan will utilise virtual showrooms powered by AI to showcase Sydney FC to its membership and fanbase, enabling interactive, self-guided tours and Digital Sales Rooms (DSRs).

The AI sales platform mission revolves around reshaping the future buying experience, leveraging AI and Augmented Reality to tailor experiences to the brand they partner with, and offering personalized engagements that guide customers toward confident decisions.

Bigtincan’s portfolio is wide and incredible with expertise that the biggest brand sand sporting organisations have adopted. These include Major League Baseball, Boston Red Sox, Sacramento Kings, and the Los Angeles Chargers, and other leading global leaders like Nike, Clorox, and Citibank.

The shared values of Sydney FC and Bigtincan converge on delivering engaging, empowering training experiences that enhance performance both on and off the field.

Mark Aubrey, Sydney FC CEO, discussed the club’s future vision with Bigtincan.

“Success stems from nurturing and training those entrusted with performance. Our coaches empower our players, much like Bigtincan does for major brands and global sports franchises with their AI-powered technology,” Aubrey mentioned in a press release.

“Our shared values in training and coaching create a natural alignment, and I am eager to see where this partnership takes us.”

David Keane, Co-Founder and CEO of Bigtincan, expressed enthusiasm about the digital partnership with Sydney FC.

“We are thrilled to collaborate with Sydney FC, leveraging our innovative AI-driven technology to support the team on and off the pitch while expanding the reach of our sales enablement automation platform,” he added in a statement.

This partnership is a major step forward in innovation for Sydney FC who are committed to providing specialised coaching and training, mirroring the club’s investment in the development of its staff and players both on and off the pitch.

SciSports: Delivering a comprehensive data solution for football operations

Best popularised by Football Manager, football fans around the world are becoming increasingly aware of data-driven software and analysis. In truth, these worlds have been colliding for some time as the football industry continues to be at the forefront of innovation.

Leading the way in this area is Dutch-based company SciSports, which has risen to prominence in Europe for its diverse range of data-driven software services.

The company delivers key football operations services, including recruitment, performance and opponent analysis, career advice, and data delivery. These services are utilised by national teams, clubs, players and player agencies, and league associations.

Its leading partnerships are with the Dutch Eredivisie and Royal Dutch Football Association (KNVB), as well as Premier League club Crystal Palace, and A-League side Adelaide United.

In addition, its applications are used by a host of British and European football clubs, winning many plaudits from performance analysts and football recruitment departments.

This article will take you on a deep-dive into the range of applications SciSports offers, and how it is changing the face of football operations.

Recruitment

Arguably its most prized feature, SciSports provides its clients the very best data-driven player recruitment software money can buy.

Its application connects club scouts and player agencies to over 270,000 players in the men’s and women’s game, 3,700 clubs, and 250 league divisions.

Part of the software allows clubs to create their own profile that details their style of play. This helps clubs save valuable time in their recruitment process because players who suit the club’s profile will be prioritised within its search engine.

Player profiles built within the application include features such as the SciSkill Index – an in-house player performance metric – performance statistics, and player roles.

WIthin its Pro recruitment application, player profiles include AI powered player valuations, and a GBE points calculator that determines the eligibility of a player for work permit or visa applications.

SciSports offers a monthly subscription package for its two recruitment application offerings (Essential and Pro), benefitting clubs at all levels of the professional game.  

Altogether, SciSports’ in-depth, data-driven technology is making football recruitment simpler and more efficient, helping football clubs steer clear of the “flop” branding that permeates through modern football.

Career Advice

Connected to its recruitment and performance analysis services, SciSports can assist players and player agencies greatly.

Their career advice service enables agencies’ to create player-profiles for their clients, driven by SciSports existing performance analysis software.

The profile contains in-depth information ranging from physical attributes and tactical suitability, to career history and player ambitions.

Again, the application is offered in two monthly subscription packages – Lite and Pro – which have differing levels of access for players and agents.

Whilst the services helps a player market themselves, it also better informs them about where their next move should be, which SciSports evidences through its high-profile player partnerships.

Case Study – Memphis Depay

SciSports’ highest-profile success story is current Atletico Madrid and Netherlands forward, Memphis Depay.

After struggling at Manchester United, Depay and his agent sought the help of SciSports to assist in revitalising his career.

His player profile and subsequent analysis advised him to reject moves to Spain, Italy, and England, in favour of a move to French Ligue 1 club, Olympique Lyon, who were seen as best-suited to his playing style.

Depay revitalised his career, going on to score 63 goals in 139 appearances for OL, before representing his country at the 2021 European Championships and 2022 FIFA Men’s World Cup.

Fellow Dutch forward Wout Weghorst is known to have succeeded using SciSports career advice and performance analysis applications, whilst several Dutch Eredivisie players have been known to further their careers.

Performance Analysis

Having the ability to analyse player and team performance day-by-day is imperative in elite football. SciSports aims to assist elite football clubs in offering extensive performance analysis applications.

Its performance analysis software is data provider agnostic, meaning it can be connected to existing data sources such as player-tracking data (GPS systems), event data, and video footage.

The result is a one-stop-shop software for performance analysts and coaches to use with their players and teams.

The package produces greater staff reporting, video analysis, and data visualisations, all of which are vital to being a successful football operation.

Given the diverse nature of football tactics and analysis, pricing for its service is available for request only.

Opponent Analysis

Similar to its performance analysis services, SciSports also provides opponent analysis for football clubs.

In today’s football climate, getting the edge over a rival takes place not just on the pitch, but in offices over weeks and months. One small piece of analysis could be the difference between failure and success.

SciSports again uses incredible detail to provide clubs with analysis that evolves simple stats into some of the most niche around. For instance, attacking and defensive style trends, or the types of set-piece variations an opponent runs, their success rate, and times in games that they run them.

Data-driven opponent analysis is already a prominent feature in professional football, but SciSports existing services in recruitment and performance analysis situates them as an industry leader.

Data Delivery

Last, but not least in its catalogue of services, SciSports can integrate its software with existing in-house technology, making the transition easy for football clubs and player agencies to align with the company.

Like its performance analysis service, pricing for its in-house data-delivery solutions are available for request only.

SciSports are expanding its operation to leagues in North and Central America, and whether it penetrates the Asian or Australian market or not, its services are a valuable template for improving football operations.

With some of the world’s leading universities based in Australia, there is a clear capacity for the creation of data-driven software that can drive the professionalisation and expansion of the Australian game.

For full information on SciSports, you can find it here.

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