SocaLoca: Revolutionising talent identification and tournament organising

SocaLoca co-founders Lionel Foy and Sayf Ismail are providing more opportunity for footballers across the world with their innovative platform.

The concept was born in 2016 when the two first met, and now the SocaLoca app is used by national federations in Belize and Cameroon for tournament organising.

There are two main goals of the platform. Equalising talent identification and becoming a hotspot for football tournaments and data.

Foy and Ismail recognised that the pathways for footballers in some countries weren’t as equal as others. Smaller or less resourced countries and continents simply don’t have the infrastructure that the big footballing powers do globally.

The app operates in a similar way to statistics platforms like FotMob or Transfermarkt, where player profiles and stats are collated for fans and other interested parties to view. However, there is also a self-management aspect to it.

Footballers can download the platform and build their own profile, showcasing their achievements, statistics, results and more for anyone to see. This goes from juniors all the way up to seniors.

This gives those players from lesser resourced regions the opportunity to be seen and scouted like any other player, from when they’re first starting out to battling their way up through the footballing pyramid.

Co-founder Arif Sayuti.

While there are concerns around the data-sharing implicit to the platform, measures have been put in place. Players aged between 7 and 12 must be registered by their guardians and have a limit on what information can be displayed on their public profiles.

The global interconnectedness that an app like SocaLoca offers is unlike anything seen in world football to date.

The other side of the platform is its use in tournament organisation. This links in with the player profiles, where players are registered within tournaments and competitions and have their results and statistics linked to their profiles.

SocaLoca’s Competition Management Module has already seen successful use in Uganda, Belize and Cameroon, and can be used by anyone on the platform.

Football Federation Belize is now using the SocaLoca app to organise and run all regional competitions, while Cameroon’s national football academy is now a partner of SocaLoca.

Results and statistics in countries all over the world are now available to recruiters and talent identifiers, making it easier for those who would be otherwise overlooked to get their chance.

Staff Writer
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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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