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The Future of Football with Big Data and SAP Technology

How do you attract the attention of 72,000 men (and some women) milling around 1,700 exhibits at the world’s largest mobile technology event in Barcelona? Prominently positioning a football field (a.k.a. soccer pitch) on a giant screen with the caption Experience the Future of Football is one way that works. Incredibly popular everywhere in the world, football is also big business. Here’s where SAP’s mobile apps coupled with powerful predictive tools for analyzing data come into play.

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As every fan knows, the  football experience is all about predicting the future. Will my team win the match, get into the finals, win the World Cup? But for football coaches, predicting the future is even more important! Achieving and maintaining the best position in their league is a tricky business.

The age old way to predict outcomes more accurately was to study past performance, run through what-if scenarios, and compare statistics to come up with the right game plan for achieving desired results. The SAP exhibit invited visitors to learn about new technology that uses data to improve a player’s performance by analyzing skills in real-time 3D visualization.

The showcase at the booth featured the last game of the German National team against Italy as an example. Data is collected using video images (10 per second) from four cameras around the field.  With the help of SAP HANA, coaches are then able to analyze the data in real time, enabling them  to provide direct feedback to players on their performance. This technology is not just a vision. The German Bundesliga football club TSG 1899 Hoffenheim is already using the latest sensor-based technology combined with SAP HANA to better understand player performance and push the limits of player potential.

Like any enterprise, sports clubs must manage their resources effectively. Not only that, but in the current age of the mobile customer, only those organizations that focus first and foremost on winning, serving and retaining customers — or fans — will survive. Sports and entertainment solutions from SAP help the industry run  better, from the fans and athletes to the teams and leagues. SAP already boasts several sporting solutions and partnerships, such as the NBA site powered by SAP Analytics technology.

And we’re just getting started. The future of football and many other sports will be shaped by the nexus of forces in society today — mobile, cloud, social and big data — that are converging and driving massive business transformation across all industries. Whether it’s in emerging wearable devices, data insights through social intelligence and sentiment analysis, or shifts in how companies engage with customers, businesses are looking for new ways to empower consumers and drive growth. The future of football? It’s the same as the future of everything else: It’s about using mobile technology coupled with powerful tools for analyzing data to predict the future.

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