SAP sponsorships in the equestrian arena

Eventing Prediction Centre: How Data Can Predict Winners

Eventing is a sport for riding enthusiasts. A single horse and rider compete against other competitors across the three disciplines of dressage, cross country, and show jumping.

Described as the equestrian triathlon, eventing demands the very best of rider and horse — graceful partnership, bravery, fitness, determination, precision. Competitors accumulate penalty points in each phase and at the end of the event the pair with the lowest score takes home top honors.

Eventing has had the reputation of being one of the most unpredictable sports. A horse and a human, three phases, the complete test: With complex scoring systems and a huge number of variables, there are millions of potential outcomes to every event.

Never before has the sport been able to talk about an upset or a hot favorite or many of the other terms with which sports fans are so familiar. With the Eventing Prediction Centre, SAP and EquiRatings have changed that.

Using the latest technology in SAP Predictive Analytics software, the EquiRatings team has designed a statistical model that calculates the likely outcomes of major events before and during an eventing competition. The Eventing Prediction Centre combines a wide range of data points, including the previous results of the horse and rider, information on the event itself, as well as the course they are taking. This information is all pulled together, and the competition is simulated virtually 100,000 times. The outcome is a statistical likelihood of who will be the winner, the top three, the top 10, and, as the competition unfolds, the impact of every score and every phase.

The Eventing Prediction Centre is built entirely on SAP software. It uses SAP HANA and SAP Cloud Platform and connects to a model, which is built by EquiRatings analysts, using SAP Predictive Analytics.

“In 2019 to date, the Eventing Prediction Centre has run for 21 competitions, covering every CCI5* competition, the entire ERM series, and a host of other international classes at venues like Aachen, Strezgom, Bramham, and Tattersalls,” says Diarmuid Byrne, managing director of EquiRatings Limited. “In nine of the 21 competitions, the combination selected by the Eventing Prediction Centre as the favorite combination pre-competition went on to win. In 66 percent of cases, the eventual winner came from the top three selections. The goal is to give the media and the fans a tool to be able to discuss the sport in the same way the other sports are covered.”

SAP Predictive Analytics in Businesses

The modelling and the algorithms of the Eventing Prediction Centre have been designed over a five-year period and now encompass all the latest technology in SAP Predictive Analytics, which is also used by major businesses around the world.

“Just like in other business areas, the Eventing Prediction Centre shows that even complex amounts of data can be distilled into a model that can help us understand the future,” says Thomas Esser, director of Global Sponsorships at SAP. “SAP Predictive Analytics can be used to create, deploy, and maintain thousands of predictive models. For businesses, this tool is designed to anticipate the likelihood of future outcomes and steer a business in the right direction with predictive algorithms and machine learning.”

Fan Engagement with Eventing Prediction Centre

Engaging with fans is at the heart of the SAP offerings. With that in mind, the Eventing Prediction Centre allows fans to select who they believe will finish in the top three and to assess how other fans are voting. Fans can access the tool as a desktop version or via mobile device at www.prediction-centre.equiratings.com.

Another new, fan-facing format is the “weatherman” story series, Facebook highlight previews and reviews of every phase of the competition combine stats, stories, and predictions of the day in an engaging format.


For more details on SAP technology in eventing and other sports, visit the SAP Global Sponsorships area of sap.com and follow @SAPSports on social media.