Data & the beautiful game – World Cup Qatar 2022
The 2022 Qatar World Cup is the first of its kind: a condensed 29-day tournament taking place in the winter, causing a significant reshuffle for Europe’s domestic football leagues.
As this tournament highlights, football is an adaptive game. Top clubs and national teams now employ an arsenal of experts in niche roles, placing ever-growing importance on technology and data analysts.
From metric-driven executives, managers, coaching staff and players to casual fans, data is revolutionising football and the way we interact with it. On the pitch, personal and athletic records are constantly broken. In the boardroom, aggregated data has become a primary tool used in recruitment and player aassessment.
Online, pundits – both professional and armchair – can access a wealth of statistics, metrics and insights to help them paint a more intricate and detailed picture to critique than ever before.
In parallel, financial institutions across the globe are increasingly relying on data to maximise their performance. Whether it’s a global bank with a matrix of client and proprietary activity, a fund manager looking to improve returns for investors or a corporate hedging risks to protect their future bottom line, data is at the heart of financial market decision making.
In financial markets, intraday refers to price movements that occur during the hours that the market is open. In footballing terms, it’s any mid-game development.
Intraday data allows firms to assess market changes on a periodic basis and adjust their strategies in line with this insight and intelligence.
Similarly, this inflow of information is also a key part of assessing a player’s individual performance and his contribution to the team on the pitch, too.
Modern technology has transformed the way in which football teams can analyse in-game performance. Detachable GPS-powered vests worn during matches can record a huge variety of player metrics including speed, power and acceleration with high degrees of granularity1.
Players wear vests with a small GPS pod positioned between their shoulder blades2 and a strap across their chest which can measure data such as distance travelled and heart rate to the accuracy of 10 points per second.
The use of intraday data, both in football and financial markets, allows us to signify the highs and lows of a player’s performance or asset class.
End-of-day (EOD) data refers to the consolidated data that becomes available once the markets have closed. In other words – what’s available after the whistle blows.
While intraday data is useful for in-game changes, EOD data allows managers to gain a holistic view of both individual and team performance. Ten data sets are collected from each player resulting in 1.4 million data points3 at the end of every match. These collective insights influence how the manager approaches the next game and his view on the effectiveness of individual players.
In financial markets, EOD data enables firms to build an overall picture of portfolio performance and specific risk position exposures which informs future decision-making.
In finance, historical data refers to data pertaining to the past behaviour of a specific market or financial instrument. Applied to football, it is the scope of a full season or campaign for a team to date or the career development of an individual player.
Football managers and financial analysts alike need to access a wide range of data to fully understand and assess how things are going. Analysts, both in football and finance, use historical data to provide context to certain behaviours, identify trends over time and the prospect for opportunities or team and tactic changes required for the next opponent and moving forward.
Financial analysts acquire and look to many correlated historical data sets to calibrate analytic models, strengthen their overall knowledge base, project future returns or determine what variables may impact future returns.
A New Era in Qatar
FIFA President, Gianni Infantino, outlined the use of technology and data4 to improve football as a key part of his vision from 2020 – 2023. As such, players, managers and coaches at the 2022 Qatar World Cup will be able to gain a new level of insight into on-field performances through the FIFA Player App.
Based on player input and feedback, the app has three categories: football data metrics, physical performance metrics and football intelligence metrics, each curated to provide a new level of match data and player insight.
This player-centric approach to in-game monitoring draws many parallels with financial market data. In both cases, data points are placed in calculation engines which process them and send them back to the platform which then redistributes them back to the participants.
So, as the world turns its attention to football’s biggest prize, the revolution of data in both finance and football is clear to see. The ever increasing use of intraday, end of day and historical data is constantly transforming both sport and finance, enabling teams in both fields to make informed decisions based on real relevant and immediate market intelligence.
1 The Register - A short history of data. 2 Everton FC. 3 Smart Data Collective. 4 FIFA Annual Report - The Vision 2020-2023.
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Data & the Beautiful Game: Parallels Between Football and Financial Markets - Traders Magazine