SkillCorner: Connecting video and event data analytics like never before

SkillCorner have revolutionised the football industry’s approach to data analytics in a world-leading and exciting fashion.

Established by then-university graduate in Applied Mathematics and Data Science Hugo Bordigoni and business executive Charles Montmaneix in 2015, SkillCorner extracts physical tracking data from broadcast footage and generates live match visualisations as a result.

By pairing AI data collection with broadcasting, SkillCorner allows fans to see real-time stats gathered from broadcast footage. Metrics such as Sprint Count, Acceleration and Deceleration Count, High-Speed Running Distance and Total Distance are measured via a combination of computer vision and machine learning technology that aids in multi-object tracking over the course of a match.

SkillCorner has since filled a gap in a sporting landscape which had not yet embraced artificial intelligence and had stuck largely to a manual process of collecting data.

In addition, SkillCorner has developed into one of the strongest tools for clubs in their approach to player recruitment. With an access to both a growing database of football tracking data and tracking data on matches that is received instantly, SkillCorner have proven to be a major advantage for some of the world’s biggest clubs.

Whilst SkillCorner’s early days saw their analytics acquired mostly by sportsbooks, their platform came to the attention of Liverpool’s head of research, Ian Graham, in what was a landmark moment for the data analysis tool.

At the time, Liverpool already had access to excellent tracking data for all English Premier League matches – first through ChyronHego and now with Second Spectrum – but it didn’t have anything comparable when considering moves in the transfer market.

In an interview last year with SportTechie, Bordigoni reflected on the manner in which SkillCorner filled a gap in Liverpool’s approach to the transfer market.

“When we started discussing with Liverpool, it was not the plan to go into the performance business. But Liverpool reached us and said, ‘If you’re able to do it for the betting, it means you don’t have some cameras inside [the venue], you’re doing it from the broadcast and it interests us for player recruitment,” he said.

“When they want to scout players playing Bundesliga in French Ligue 1 or in La Liga, they cannot access the tracking data.”

Liverpool’s business last year saw the then reigning English Premier League champions spend $14 million for left-back Konstantinos Tsimikas, $24 million to acquire central midfielder Thiago Alcantara and $49 million for forward Diogo Jota.

Of its three new players, Liverpool had access to rich tracking data for only Jota, who competed in the same league. SkillCorner compiled data from 23 leagues for last year’s summer transfer window and expects to provide coverage of roughly 40 in the near future.

Jota

Liverpool and SkillCorner collaborated for a year to hone the accuracy of the algorithm before agreeing to a partnership.

Word then spread across Europe – prompting more inquiries – and since then SkillCorner has begun working with new clubs in the Premier League, Italy’s Serie A, Germany’s Bundesliga (including 1.FC Köln and Bayer Leverkusen) and France’s Ligue 1 (including Olympique de Marseille and OGC Nice).

For SkillCorner, event and tracking data are critical to unlocking football performance and engaging with fans. But until now, tracking data has been expensive to collect, time intensive, and not available across different leagues and competitions.

SkillCorner is changing that by providing clubs, betting operators, and media access to exclusive player and ball tracking data without the usual restrictions.

Their fully automated system allows users to access dynamic and contextualised insights that can power a club’s recruitment process or deliver unique new insights to fans. Their Live Match Visualisation is an impressive alternative to live match streaming, with turnkey animation and immediate integration ensuring broadcasts are experienced to their full capacity.

SkillCorner’s recent growth has seen partnerships unfold that will further enhance the options available to football fans and the football industry.

A recently announced partnership with Twenty3 – creator of AI sports data tool Twenty3 Toolbox – will see physical data collected by SkillCorner added to the Toolbox. Twenty3 recently revealed a new partnership with MLS club Sporting Kansas City, giving the club access to Twenty3’s set of AI tools which now include SkillCorner player tracking.

SkillCorner are illustrative of the changing of the guard in the approach to data analytics. Whilst football has embraced data collection as a necessary facet of player, coaching and overall team improvement over time, SkillCorner have established an alternative forward-thinking method that is adaptable to its multitude of user types.

Premier League confirm multi-year deal with VR developer Rezzil

The Premier League confirmed a four-year partnership with virtual reality software developer Rezzil to create a new VR video game.

The Premier League and Rezzil will work together on the development of a VR game, which is expected to be launched later this year. The game will place users on the pitch and in the boots of their favourite Premier League players, offering fans a unique opportunity to recreate iconic Premier League goals and moments from within the perspective of virtual reality.

This will be done by using Rezzil’s software and integrating it directly with Premier League match data allowing clubs to adapt the software to re-create match scenarios and replay them through a VR headset. It also gives the Premier League a way to give broadcasters and the gaming market a chance to get closer to the action on the pitch in a fun and groundbreaking way.

Rezzil is a Manchester-based VR software firm that specialise in the production of sports gaming software for athlete training and game analysis within virtual reality.

Rezzil applications are already being used by many top professional football clubs in both the premier League and around Europe.

Will Brass, the Premier League’s Chief Commercial Officer explained the importance of this innovating partnership for all parties.

“We are excited about the ongoing development of VR technology within football. Rezzil are highly respected in the field and have developed an excellent reputation with training products that are being used by many Premier League clubs alongside leading sports teams and leagues around the world,” he said in a statement.

“The applications for this technology are expanding quickly and this partnership will see the Premier League working with Rezzil on products that can help redefine player, fan and viewer experiences.”

Andy Etches, Co-Founder of Rezzil shared his excitement about partnering with the biggest domestic league in world football

“We are thrilled to embark on this new partnership with the Premier League. By combining our expertise in VR technology with the unparalleled excitement of Premier League football, we are looking forward to supporting the Premier League’s fan and player engagement ambitions. Working hand in hand together, we’re poised to bring VR technology to football in ways never seen before,” he said in a statement.

Premier League will also take an equity stake in Rezzil following this announcement of the partnership. This investment will place Rezzil and the Premier League at the forefront of exciting new developments in VR and XR (Extended Reality) technology.

This is a fantastic partnership that gives fans and broadcasters a closer perspective of the action on the pitch as well as give more clubs a chance to use important technology for team strategy and performance purposes.

It also highlights that there is potential for more exciting and innovative technology in the works that would be of the benefit of all parties and change the way we view and interact with the sport forever.

Genius Sports extend UK betting data deal with FootballCo

Genius Sports has won the bidding war to extend its official betting data partnership with Football DataCo (FDC), which holds data rights to the English Premier League (EPL).

The deal – which is set to expire this year – is close to being extended by an additional five-year term from 2025 to 2029.

With this deal, Genius will continue to collect, license and distribute official live betting data from the English Premier League.

Genius Sports is a UK based sports data company that provides data management, video streaming and integrity services to sports leagues, bookmakers and media companies.

The company was founded in 2016 and very quickly rose to prominence with huge deals in multiple countries across many sports. These include NCAA Basketball, NASCAR and NFL in America on top of their deals with FIBA and Canadian Football League. The company specialise in Football, controlling multiple leagues in the UK as well as the Argentina Superliga and all three German Football divisions.

Genius Sports in collaboration with FDC will continue to take over data in all FDC-licenced leagues such as the Championship, League One and League Two, as well as all leagues overseen by the Scottish Professional Football League (SPFL), including the Scottish Premiership.

This new deal will see Genius Sports continue to distribute data from over 4,000 UK football fixtures per season in both the media and betting sectors.

Opta currently also have a partnership with Football DataCo, and they deal with distributing data to league media teams to use but they don’t delve in the betting market like Genius does.

In 2023, Genius Data saw a 31.1% rise in revenue in their Betting Technology, Content & Services segment which was responsible for over AU$418.8 mil in total revenue.

The sports data and technology business said the deal is still subject to approval from the leagues and their respective clubs.

Whilst the gambling data distribution has moral implications in itself, this deal isn’t all negative for viewers, with Genius also continuing to work hand in hand with Premier League Productions to enhance live broadcasts for fans with a range of interesting analytics that will heighten the overall viewing experience.

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