SAP and Manchester City: Scoring Chances in the Cloud

Have you ever wondered where football commentators on TV get all their numbers and insights, be it on ball statistics, goals, passes, or defensive tactics? And who puts together all these numbers to create the fancy infographics you see on TV, the Internet, and in magazines? A look at Manchester City might give you an answer.

Modern football media coverage wouldn’t be possible without data – that much is sure. SAP has recognized the power of data for football – and sports in general – and the benefits it brings to fans, media, and of course the players, teams, and football clubs themselves. A vivid example of how data can enhance communications between clubs and fans is the new self-service stats reporting at Manchester City.

Access to a Wealth of Football Data

SAP has a long-standing partnership with Manchester City, based on sustainability and authenticity. For example, when SAP and CFG launched the #CityPulse Wall, an interactive digital info wall at Manchester City’s Etihad Stadium last year, they designed its backend system in a way that allows its use for further data-driven use cases in the future. The next step in this evolution was the creation of a self-service statistics reporting tool for the content team at Manchester City.

“To provide the fans with the latest news and insights on their favourite club, the Manchester City content team was always looking for the latest statistics on team and player performance,” explains Milan Cerny, Technology & Innovation Lead, SAP Global Sponsorships. “However, getting a hold of and analyzing the necessary data had not always been an easy task in the past. CFG and SAP were therefore looking for a way to provide the content team with an intuitive and user-friendly tool to help them research stats on players and the team for news articles and other fan-oriented content.”

To this end, SAP provided SAP Analytics Cloud, part of the SAP Leonardo solution portfolio. Running on SAP Cloud Platform, the tool has access to more than 10 years of detailed game data within the SAP HANA database, which can now be easily accessed and analyzed. How many goals has Aguero scored with his left and right foot? How many chances has De Bruyne created? How many duels has Fernandinho won? How often was Otamendi successful in his tackles? With SAP Analytics Cloud, the possibilities for creating compelling statistics are almost unlimited.

“With the foundations of SAP HANA and SAP Cloud Platform already in place, Manchester City merely had to subscribe to SAP Analytics Cloud to get a unified and secure public cloud service to maximize data-driven player analysis,” says Ty Miller, vice president, SAP Analytics Product Management. “Interacting with the tool is so intuitive that it has become accessible to the entire team working on digital content for Manchester City’s channels. I’m looking forward to watching how the Manchester City content team introduces the new SAP Analytics Cloud mobile app to their use cases and how they will benefit from the ability to have their player analysis available anywhere and anytime.”

Plenty of Use Cases

A team of SAP consultants enabled the Manchester City content team to use the new solution, and first results are impressive. For example, a recent article and video on player Kevin De Bruyne’s statistics gives an idea of how the content team benefits from the new solution. Looking to the future, the team plans to define player reference dashboards, making it easier to find interesting stats right away and tablets.

“Our fans around the world are always keen to get an in-depth look at how the team and each player is performing on the pitch,” says Chris Bailey, editor in chief at Manchester City. “With SAP Analytics Cloud, our content team is now able to draw from a plethora of player, team, and matchday data to provide informative and meaningful content to our fans across all channels.”

SAP and City Football Group

City Football Group (CFG) is one of the most innovative and technology-driven football organizations in the world. In July 2015, SAP became the official “Cloud Software Provider” and a trusted technology advisor of CFG and its four clubs around the world including Manchester City FC (men and women), New York City FC, Melbourne City FC and Yokohama F. Marinos.

CFG and its clubs have implemented a wide variety of cloud-based solutions powered by the SAP HANA platform with the aim to simplify their world-wide operations, scale their business, increase productivity and enhance the fan experience. Another key element of the partnership is the collaboration to co-innovate and develop new applications to analyze and improve performance on the field for players and coaches.

As part of their co-innovative partnership, SAP and CFG unveiled the #CityPulse Wall in September 2016 – the Premier League’s first fan-friendly, interactive digital wall featuring a touchscreen interface and video display, located in City Square – the social hub of the Etihad Stadium.