Stats Perform outlines how its new data and services were used to great effect last year, and what it has in store for 2023

win probability

Stats Perform’s sports data feeds and expert research continue to be deeply ingrained mainstays of global sports broadcasts. In 2022, new statistics from its Opta database and built-for-creators PressBox sports content tools helped media across the globe bring audiences of the world’s major (and minor) sports competitions even closer.

Broadcast Sport sat down with Stats Perform VP Paul Every to dive into some of the new ways the sports data giant helped TV and radio broadcasters, commentators, producers and podcasters last year, particularly for the World Cup, and get a glimpse at what’s coming next.

PressBox Live: A producer’s secret weapon

When the camera panned to the press and commentary seats during the Euros and World Cup, you saw journalists and producers pointing excitedly at their laptop screens. Chances are they had found a top new insight to talk or write about by looking at Stats Perform’s PressBox Live.

Imagine the right contextual live Opta Fact, at the right time. Or the ability to quickly quote the up-to-date player stats, data visualisations, interactive pie charts, metrics like live Opta xG, team formations, live win probabilities (pictured above) and momentum.

Opta World Cup TNT TV Argentina

Another killer feature is the ability to webchat with our researchers about any milestone or event that just happened on the pitch and get a quick answer, all in real time. It’s like our experts are sat right there next to you.

This is all possible in PressBox Live, powered by Opta’s incredibly deep statistics archive, AI and our expert team of researchers. It’s all at your fingertips and is the producer and commentator’s new secret weapon.

The web-based interface loads in seconds, providing fine-tuned access to information that makes pre-game, in-game and post-game TV and radio broadcast coverage more interesting than ever for viewers. It also strongly supports social media teams, journalists and podcasters looking to contextualise key events or find new storylines.

A great example is Opta’s computer-generated simulations and predictions for the World Cup that fed some of mainstream media’s most-commented articles before and during the tournament.

Human brains love patterns. Sports fans love predictions because they spark increased understanding and new conversations about the game. PressBox Live is chock full of those moments.

Since the recent launch, we’ve added coverage for more soccer competitions and numerous new features to PressBox Live. It’s also available to help American football producers and commentators, covering thousands of college football games. More sports are coming in 2023.

Baseball Analytical Packet

PressBox Video: Power a 24/7 sports TV companion channel

Australia’s Sky Channel, Stats Perform’s partner, wanted to create a companion channel featuring professional, captivating, fully-produced football World Cup video content. They used our brand new PressBox Video platform.

PressBox Video contains a whopping 75,000 sports video clips across multiple global sports, including soccer, cricket, rugby, tennis, US sports and Australian sports.

The videos are ready-to-publish or available in raw form. We’re talking previews, analysis features, player features, interviews, press conferences, fan colour, training footage, viral moments, highlights, quizzes and much more.

We designed PressBox Video to make content producers’ lives easier, so their output is greater. There’s a built-in clipping tool, a cropping tool and an auto-subtitle tool. Videos are also available in multiple languages.

Before and during the World Cup, we produced around 50 fresh clips per day, including from the ground in Qatar, covering all the games, major teams, players and stories.

Sky Channel built their entire programming around our World Cup coverage, adding their own talent and in-house content to tailor it for Australian viewers. They extended 48 games into 60 days of wall-to-wall entertainment to inform and delight viewers across the vast, sports-mad country.

PressBox Graphics: Take your coverage beyond the TV screen

In a single half of football during Argentina’s 3-0 World Cup semi-final win over Croatia, over 550 ready-to-use, Opta API-powered graphics and animations were produced by 60 different publishers, broadcasters, teams, agencies and federations. These popped up all over the world, primarily in broadcast, in stadiums or on social media.

It’s such a clever tool, another easy way to quickly turn the vast Opta sports database into interesting content to connect with fans and create highly sponsorable assets. We’ve also seen extensive use by broadcasters and teams in cricket, baseball, tennis and basketball this year, and at the Rugby League World Cup and women’s Rugby World Cup. If you’ve seen a cleverly designed stats graphic pop up in your social feed right as something happens on the field, chances are it was automated in PressBox Graphics using an Opta feed.

Automated Sports Video: Ease the pain of flight delays

Clean, deep, structured sports data isn’t easy to acquire, but that’s what we have in Opta. With it, you’ve got the critical ingredient for predictive models, insights and new milestones, and you can also power outputs in new formats.

For example, our Automated Sports Videos are generated as event data updates, producing broadcast-ready game preview videos, player preview videos, half-time update videos and post-game recap videos in the blink of an eye.

Because our Opta sports data API is so deep and broad, it can power videos like these for thousands of teams, even if they’re all playing at once.

This leads to massive personalisation. If your viewers follow a specific team or are out-of-home, like in a regional airport or taxi, nearby screens and digital displays can show the video content for their team or the local teams most likely to attract and keep their attention.

If they’re reading a game preview online, that preview can now have an accompanying video. Same for any post-match editorial articles – for hundreds of thousands of games a year.

In the past, this sort of coverage wasn’t feasible without incredible production budgets. Even then, it would be challenging to deliver in near-real time. Stats Perform’s Automated Sports Video changes everything. Take a look next time you’re in a US airport or rideshare, and it’s coming to screens across the world, fast.

I predict you’ll try it.

We’ve seen a big trend in fans engaging more with our predictions and simulations in 2022. Alongside soccer predictions, examples include:

•    Kick predictors in rugby

•    Next-ball outcome predictors in cricket and momentum changes in tennis

•    Live win probabilities for multiple US and global sports

The predictions are easy to grasp for fans, which is something our AI and product teams have worked hard on, knowing how quickly such content needs to get viewer attention and enhance the coverage, not distract from it.

It’s been great seeing so many broadcasters using them this year, and we’re onboarding more in 2023.

Coming next to fan eyes: Never-before-seen game patterns

The powerful new Opta Vision pairs event data with player tracking data, creating a single, merged dataset for insights that go far beyond the box score or standard play-by-play stats.

Broadcasters and analysts receive real-time trend detections and greater context behind harder-to-measure skills such as line-breaking passes or pressure intensity. We’ve already had a major broadcaster using Opta Vision for the World Cup, and the response was fantastic. You’ll be hearing a lot more about Opta Vision early in 2023 and it’ll be baked into multiple Stats Perform products and experiences, including PressBox Live.

Coming next to fan ears: Making real-time play-by-play updates more accessible

Speaking of hearing about things, Stats Perform’s new Opta Voice partnership with Veritone combines the hyper-expansive enterprise AI platform aiWARE with Opta’s real-time in-game play-by-play stats, pre-game and post-game updates. The result is a synthetic but realistic voice audiocast of the stats-based action to fans.

Audio coverage of visual content like live box scores and rolling stats feeds brings sport to more people. For example, if a fan is visually impaired or has reading disabilities, they’ll no longer feel left out by live sports reporting that flies past too quickly on their phone. It means fans at work or on the move can follow the action more easily in the background. It also enables publishers and broadcasters to communicate effectively with people in their native languages, offering more inclusive sports reporting.

Like all these examples, delivering an audio component brings sports audiences closer to the action. That’s something every broadcaster, publisher, team, and league is trying to do.

Paul E

Paul Every is the VP of media products at Stats Perform and is passionate about the power of stats and content to make sport matter more to more fans. See examples of the above products in use, hear more about Stats Perform’s next innovations – including how to register for the 2023 Opta Forum – by following Stats Perform on the socials here.