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Date: 2021-10-12 04:07:30
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At a similar analytics conference a decade ago, the room would have been full of far more data sceptics, with very few practitioners working at clubs.
But today, more clubs than ever have data analysts, scientists or engineers in the building, spend more money than before on data and tools, and see analytics as a genuine means of finding an edge.
The event was held by Statsbomb, which operates in the professional, media and gambling spaces. Deals with the majority of Premier League clubs, alongside teams from Roma in Italy to Peru’s Alianza Lima, reflect the company’s rise. It also keeps a keen eye on developing the use of data in women’s football, with teams in those leagues able to get access to their premier platform — Statsbomb IQ — free of charge.
“Doing analytics” isn’t a binary thing though, and the impact on decision-making at a club can be limited if the data department is understaffed, under-funded or under-skilled, or its work is undervalued and people are not being listened to. Case in point: a club’s head of analytics was side-tracked during one of the talks having been asked to order some IT supplies for another member of staff.
Football certainly lags behind other sports.
Most NBA basketball franchises, for example, will have four or five analytics staff. In the Premier League, it is thought only Liverpool and Manchester City have an analytics headcount exceeding that.
The hires are coming, though.