[ART, SPORT, ENTERTAINMENT] More than a game

Football players’ equipment today contains sensors that record their movements, track their position on
the field using GPS and count passes and shots. Multi-angle cameras capture everything from aerial
duels won to how long players have the ball in their possession. These data are collected and processed
by artificial intelligence and then sold by companies to football clubs. However, in order to better
understand and use this information, football clubs and national teams hire experts from the world’s
leading companies and scientific laboratories such as Microsoft and CERN.
At present, data analysis has a decisive influence on all important decisions made in a football club:
from the transfer of players and the intensity of training, all the way to the preparation of tactical
solutions. As a consequence, the analyst’s insights change the very way football, as a game, is played.
For example, today, players shoot less often when they are far from the goal. “If you look at any league
in the world, the distance from which players shot at the goal ten years ago was much greater,” Ravi
Ramineni, an analyst who used to work for Microsoft and now does similar work at an American football
club, told the science magazine Nature. “It came about because the data analytics people started telling
them, ‘Why on earth are you shooting from there? The probability is only 2%!’”