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Oracle scores English Premier League cloud goal

Digital technology meets high performance sports as Oracle Cloud is named preferred cloud platform for the world’s most watched football league, writes ARTHUR GOLDSTUCK



The English Premier League, the world’s most-watched football league, has chosen Oracle as its official cloud provider, as it aims to get fans more engaged while watching from home.

The EPL says it will increase the excitement surrounding every game through new in-match statistics that provide a deeper understanding of the live-action on the pitch.

Over the past season, as stadiums remained closed to most fans, the EPL has been scrambling to improve engagement with fans, but remaining well behind the likes of Spain’s La Liga in bringing real-time stat to TV audiences. Now, it says, Oracle’s data, analytics and machine learning technologies will deliver extensive statistics, in real-time, to a global audience of billions.

The announcement comes in the wake of Oracle being named official cloud infrastructure partner of Red Bull Racing, the four-time Formula 1 World Champion team. At the same time, Oracle has renewed its relationship with SailGP, sailing’s premier racing league, expanding its data analytics platform for the event for a second season. Oracle Cloud Infrastructure delivers real-time data to each of the league’s eight national teams, as well as to broadcast partners and fans worldwide.

SailGP app

“New features added this season will improve team performance and give fans a thrilling crews-eye view of the action,” Oracle said in an announcement of the extended relationship.

Russell Coutts, CEO of SailGP, expects the platform to push the boundaries of what is possible, both on and off the water.

“For Season 2, we’re working on a number of new cloud-based innovations with Oracle to truly enhance the viewer experience and create efficiencies in the way we operate across all aspects of our business,” he said. “The results are remarkable, especially on race days, which are the ultimate showcase of data, technology and invention.”

SailGP will use Oracle Stream Analytics, which will make autonomous decisions based on the 30,000 data points an F50 catamaran sends – in every second of a race. The system will blend all the data into one stream, allowing teams to customise data dashboards with tactical information, and make instantaneous, in-race strategy decisions.

The EPL won’t be as intensively tied into the data, but a system called “Match Insights – Powered by Oracle Cloud” will present advanced player performance data and statistics during global broadcast coverage, and across social channels. Machine learning models will combine live data streams and real-time tracking data with information collected from thousands of previous matches, allowing for match data and analysis at a level of integration never seen before.

It is not only the commentators, but also the fans, who will benefit from instant access to a range of match information.

From the beginning of  the 2021/22 season, scheduled to start on August 14, Match Insights will include the following features, as supplied by Oracle:

Average Formation – This tracks the positions of all players when their team is in and out of possession.  The model highlights differences in how teams organize themselves when attacking and defending. During the match, fans will see how teams react to their opposition’s tactics, helping viewers to understand the strategies behind different styles of play.

Live Win Probability – This statistic further tells the story of a team’s performance by calculating the chance of a team securing a win or draw by simulating the remainder of the match 100,000 times. The model is based on four years of match data and takes into account if a team is home or away, the current score, penalties awarded, players on the pitch, red cards and time left in the match.

Momentum Tracker – This measures the likelihood of the team in possession scoring a goal in the next 10 seconds. The results are based on data from thousands of historical games and the last five events in the current possession. The model incorporates the outcomes of passes, dribbles in possession, tackles and the locations on the pitch where they take place.

“Combining Oracle’s machine learning expertise with the Premier League’s wealth of football data is a significant merger of technology and sport,” says Ariel Kelman, Oracle executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “The margins for error in the Premier League are very small, so the data is crucial to discovering the meaningful moments and stories of each match. It’s those stories that unite fans and ignite their passions for the game.”