Opta are positively passionate about data just like me and all of our community on here. But what do they do with all the sports data that they collect and how do they summon up statistics with such ease? Find out how they collect, use and analyse all of their data in our upcoming blog series by Simon Banoub, Director of Marketing at Opta. And more importantly, find out why they are a data lover too.
At Opta, it's fair to say that we watch sport a bit differently from most people.
You may remember watching Pele nonchalantly laying the ball offer for a buccaneering Carlos Alberto to blast home in 1970, or witnessing Michael Owen slaloming through a bewildered Argentinian defence to score in '98.
We see 15 completed passes, seven in the final third. Two assists. An improved chance conversion rate, and another couple of shots on target. We see the details, the data points layering on top of each other one by one - up to 2,000 in each game of football.
We record every pass - where it started and where it ended. Who passed it and who received it. We see every tackle, won and lost, and every cross, chance, shot and goal.
And once we've recorded all of this stuff - from all of the top leagues and competitions across the world, we package it up and supply it to hundreds of customers, in dozens of countries globally.
These data points form the biggest and best sports information database on the planet. And the data finds its way into people's lives in many different ways.
The biggest bookmakers use this data to create and settle bets. They'll pay out - or not - based on one or more pieces of data, such as who scored the goal, when, and what that madethe score at half-time and at full time.
Media publishers across the world - online, offline and on mobile devices - use the collated stats to run match previews and power live match reports, and then to report on the action after the final whistle.
Broadcasters use this data to educate their commentators: was that goal his first of the season or his tenth? And how many is that in his career? Against a specific opponent or overall? It also powers their graphics and helps them easily clip their highlights packages.
And the clubs use it themselves. To assess their performance or to scout their next opponents. Or, increasingly, to form a business case to buy a new player.
So, with Opta, the detail is all-important. Every bit of data forms part of the bigger picture.
And that's why we love it!