Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Stats fans rejoice, MLS will improve data collection

Major League Soccer and Opta, known as a worldwide leader in sports data, have formed a multi-year partnership to improve the collection and distribution capabilities for the league.

This may not sound like a huge deal, unless you've ever tried to comb through the barren landscape of MLS statistics. Have you ever seen "The Road Warrior?" It was that kind of barren. Beyond goals scored and assists (and, in the first few years, goals plus assists), you didn't get anything else.

This news makes me practically giddy. Opta works with major broadcasters, publishers, sponsors, governing bodies and professional clubs. If you want to look at what kind of data this might bring, check out the Bundesliga's site.

“For many years we have heard a desire from our fans for more in-depth statistics,” said Chris Schlosser, director of digital strategy for MLS. “We are very excited to partner with Opta to bring this critical information to our passionate fans. This deal will allow for deeper analysis of all MLS matches and ensure that MLS is at the cutting edge of data technologies in 2011 and beyond.” MLS and Opta will build a new North American data collection hub in MLS' Digital Headquarters in New York. From this hub, hundreds of MLS and other North American soccer games will be analyzed with the data available for use by MLSsoccer.com, participating broadcasters and other interested media outlets. “This is a very exciting new step for our business,” said Opta's chief executive officer Aidan Cooney. “Our pioneering technology creates digital blueprints of each match, enabling rich statistical and graphical insights into the game's tactics and strategies. This is an opportunity to take soccer to a new, but statistics hungry, audience in the United States.”

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