Man City uses hackathon to push player data analysis boundaries

August 1 – Manchester City completed their first football data hackathon this weekend. The hackathon was designed to unveil new insights on player performance using data provided by the Premier League, OptaPro and ChyronHego.

60 ‘hackers’ (formed into 12 teams) were selected from more than 400 applicants, to take part in the three-day event that saw the club host the participants as well as provide a £7,000 cash prize for the inaugural #HackMCFC champions.

At the heart of the hack was the competition between the 12 teams to combine Opta and ChyronHego’s datasets to develop new ideas that could enhance movement, passing, running and pressure on the pitch.

The winning team comprising of Ben Low, Ben Blackmore, Steven Hassall, Paul Robinson and Lasse Folkersen, developed a machine learning algorithm that focused on decision making in games. Judges deemed its effectiveness and potential for future implementation as its key winning criteria when making the award.

The winning team, in a press released statement, said: “HackMCFC is a truly unique event. Several of us have been to hackathons in the past, but nothing like this. The quality of the data sets we had access to were unparalleled and the amazing facilities at the City Football Academy made this the ideal environment to innovate in.

“There was an incredible buzz across the whole weekend and having the opportunity to meet and work with new people who had completely different backgrounds allowed us to really push our boundaries.”

Edward Sulley, Head of Research and Innovation for City Football Services, said: “We are delighted with the success of Manchester City’s first football data hackathon. Across the City Football Group, we constantly strive to challenge ourselves to develop innovative ways of enhancing player performance and we believe good ideas can come from anywhere.

“The skills and talents this weekend’s participants demonstrated have opened up several insightful concepts and ideas and we look forward to exploring some of these further. Going forward, we want to continue exploring opportunities using this method of open innovation, both here in Manchester and at our sister clubs in New York, Melbourne and Japan.”

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