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Oracle set to transform Premier League analytics

The Premier League has chosen Oracle to be their official cloud provider, featuring groundbreaking match statistics for live broadcasts.

The Premier League has chosen Oracle to be their official cloud provider, featuring groundbreaking match statistics for live broadcasts beginning from the 2021/22 season.

The collaboration will create greater excitement for every game of the world’s most watched league. With brand new in-match statistics shown during all Premier League matches, this will unlock a greater understanding about what is happening on the pitch.

Oracle’s data and analytics, combined with their machine learning technologies will deliver powerful statistics in real-time to billions of viewers around the world each season. “Match Insights – Powered by Oracle Cloud” will display advanced player performance data for a global broadcast coverage, as well as the Premier League’s social media channels, which will be introduced from the 2021/22 season.

Machine learning models will be designed to generate immediate results related to data streams and real-time tracking data. The scope of this technology allows the collection of facts on each player in the Premier League, coupled with information from thousands of matches in the past.

Research has found how fans are interested in the integration of match data and analysis, with Oracle’s insights able to help tell more stories about Premier League matches, giving fans a data-rich experience. Match information will be available instantly as they need it, whether they are watching from home or at the ground on their mobile phones.

“We are always looking at new ways to bring the Premier League to life and enhance the analysis of the competition. Oracle is a global brand with a great track record of driving innovation, and we look forward to working together to bring new levels of engagement to fans around the world,” Premier League Chief Executive Richard Masters said.

“Match Insights – Powered by Oracle Cloud” are set to roll out with three different categories that all have their unique values in finding out more about what goes on during a game.

Average Formation – The positions of all players are tracked for when their team is with or without possession. The model can identify differences in how teams organise themselves and ways they structure their line up during attacking and defending phases. Throughout a match, fans will see how teams respond to an opposition’s tactics, giving a glimpse about the strategies utilised in different styles of play by leading coaches.

Live Win Probability – Presents as a statistic that delves deeper into a team’s performance by calculating the chance of a team going on to secure a win or draw – this is done by simulating the remainder of the match 100,000 times to achieve the best possible accuracy in predictions. The model has been built around four years of match data and assesses a range of factors such as if a team is home or away, the current score, penalties awarded, players on the pitch, red cards and time left in the match.

Momentum Tracker – This measures the likelihood of a team that is in possession to score a goal within the next 10 seconds. The results that are uncovered are based on data from thousands of historical games, as well as the last five events in the current possession (how a team is building up play). The model summarises the outcomes of passes, dribbles in possession, tackles and locations on the pitch where those instances take place.

“Combining Oracle’s machine learning expertise with the Premier League’s wealth of football data is a significant merger of technology and sport,” Ariel Kelman said, Oracle executive vice president and chief marketing officer.

“The margins for error in the Premier League are very small, so the data is crucial to discovering the meaningful moments and stories of each match. It’s those stories that unite fans and ignite their passions for the game.”

More Match Insights are expected to be added throughout the 2021/22 Premier League season and beyond, as the upcoming campaign is scheduled to start on August 14, 2021.

You can find out more about Oracle’s Cloud Infrastructure and Applications here.

Liam Watson is a Senior Journalist with Soccerscene. He reports widely on international football policy, industry matters and industry 4.0

W-League big winners in new CBA, as greater contract freedom for A-League clubs beckons

A new collective bargaining agreement has been struck between Professional Football Australia and the Australian Professional Leagues.

Equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League, a 32% increase in the W-League salary cap floor and an increase in the A-League salary cap floor are the highlights of the new collective bargaining agreement (CBA) struck between Professional Footballers Australia (PFA) and the Australian Professional Leagues (APL).

The new five-year deal was described as “ground-breaking” by a joint statement between the two bodies, in an announcement that highlights the newfound confidence in the economic environment for professional football in Australia.

Much of that confidence can be linked to the new five-year broadcast agreement with ViacomCBS and Network 10 and it is no surprise that this new CBA has been deliberately linked in length to the broadcast deal.

PFA Co-Chief Executive Kathryn Gill explained that being able to achieve this agreement was a huge milestone for the professional game in Australia, after such a long period of uncertainty in recent years due to the COVID-19 pandemic and the end of the previous broadcasting deal with Fox Sports.

“The players’ vision for the negotiations was economic security and stability for the clubs, the leagues and the players. This agreement is a foundational step towards this objective and our leagues will be stronger as a result,” she said via the joint statement.

“It has been an incredibly challenging time for our game; however, we believe the CBA will provide a platform for our leagues to be re-launched and for a genuine partnership between the clubs and the players to be forged.

“I would like to acknowledge the work of Greg O’Rourke, Danny Townsend, Tracey Scott, Chris Pehlivanis and John Tsatsimas for their efforts and commitment during the negotiations and especially the players who participated so actively throughout.”

PFA President Alex Wilkinson noted the immense sacrifice made by many players to usher the game through the COVID-19 pandemic, which he says helped pave the way for this agreement.

“This generation of players, club owners and staff have been asked to make immense sacrifices to preserve our sport during unprecedented times,” he said.

“As a result of these sacrifices we have been able to take an important step forward and provide greater certainty for the clubs and players and make important progress in areas such as our high-performance environment, player welfare whilst further embedding our commitment to gender equity.”

Under the new CBA, genuine equity in high-performance standards in the A-League and W-League have been entrenched in order to create a “world-class workplace” for all of the country’s footballers.

This CBA will be the first to deliver common standards across higher performance and medical departments across both the W-League and the A-League.

Increases to minimum and maximum player payments are also factored in during the course of the five-year CBA with a particular focus on an increase to the W-League salary floor, providing another massive boost on the back of the recently announced expansion of the competition to also include Central Coast Mariners, Wellington Phoenix and Western United.

There will also be a reformed contracting model that allows for greater capacity in squad investment for clubs, with an allowance for up to two “Designated Player” spots, which will allow clubs to invest between $300,000 and $600,000 in players whose salaries will be excluded from the A-League salary cap.

These “Designated Players” will be in addition to the current exemptions, such as “Marquee Players”.

Furthermore, there will also be greater capacity for clubs to contract youth players with an increase in the cap on scholarship players.

The CBA also provides for guaranteed funding for player welfare and development programs, as well as greater support for the PFA Past Players Program.

APL Managing Director Danny Townsend said the deal was proof that the APL was living up to its promise of greater investment since taking control of Australia’s professional leagues.

“When APL took control of the leagues, we promised it would herald a new era of investment and this agreement shows the progress that has already been made,” he said in a statement.

“This is a clear example of what can be achieved when we work together with a common vision to realise the potential of Australian football.”

APL Leagues Commissioner Greg O’Rourke added the investments would help clubs deliver a much-improved on-field product.

“Players are partners with us in the game and central to its growth. Having all of our partners on-board with the re-imagined future of the game is vital, and this agreement marks an important milestone in our new relationship,” he said.

“There will be immediate improvements across the men’s and women’s leagues, most notably for women’s football, all of which will flow through into improved experiences for players, and ultimately into growing and improving our game.”

Tottenham Hotspur set to host world-first net zero carbon game

Tottenham

The world’s first net zero carbon game at elite level is set to be hosted by Tottenham Hotspur in partnership with Sky.

The fixture against Chelsea at Tottenham Hotspur Stadium on September 20 is supported by COP26 and the Premier League, and will be branded #GameZero, with the ambition of being net zero carbon.

Sky is a Principal Partner and Media Partner to COP26 and has committed to be net zero carbon by 2030, cutting its own emissions and those made by customers using its products, by 50% over the next decade. Spurs, Sky and the UK Government want the game to raise awareness of the threat of climate change and inspire football fans to make simple changes that will help reduce their carbon footprint.

“We are delighted to be the chosen partner of Sky on this ground-breaking initiative that will demonstrate the role our game can play in addressing the urgent issue of climate change,” Tottenham Hotspur Chairman Daniel Levy said.

“As the Premier League’s greenest club, Tottenham Hotspur is passionate about our planet – we look forward to showcasing our wide range of sustainable measures that are already in place and encouraging our fans to take simple actions that can make a huge difference.”

For the Chelsea match to be net zero, Spurs and Sky will work to minimise emissions from matchday activity such as energy used to power the game, travel to and from the stadium for both fans and clubs, and dietary choices at the stadium.

Tottenham Hotspur will be encouraging fans who attend the Chelsea match to make sustainable actions on the day, including: using public transport, cycling to the match, choosing a plant-based food option and recycling waste.

The club’s squad will travel to the match by coach to reduce the number of car movements, as will Chelsea, who will also be asking all their staff to travel across London sustainably.

Both sets of players will head to the stadium on a coach that is running on biofuel, which is a form of renewable diesel produced from food waste products and reduces carbon emissions significantly.

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