Bundesliga, Amazon want to predict what happens next

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Statistics on sports broadcasts give context to what happened. The German Bundesliga and Amazon Web Services want to provide a data-based guess on what will occur next.

The league announced a deal Monday to make Amazon its official technology provider, a collaboration that will provide statistics for the Bundesliga’s television broadcasts and digital products. The new product will launch when the season resumes Friday after the league’s winter break.

Klaus Bürg, AWS’s general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland, said in an interview he envisions “machine learning and artificial intelligence being applied to historical data” that will lead to “a very high probability of being right in what’s being predicted.”

European soccer telecasts have been less immersed in the type of data often used on U.S. telecasts of the NFL and Major League Baseball, rarely mentioning distances and speed of shots. MLB’s Statcast system provides information such as distance of home runs and hits, distance and speed of fielder runs and spin rates of pitches, just to mention a few.

Andreas Heyden, executive vice president of digital innovation at the Deutsche Fussball Liga, said this deal goes beyond the current statistics provided by Sportradar and Opta.

“To give them more information on the game and deliver a better, higher quality and faster speed, which is massively important and a deeper depth of data is something that at the end will also leverage the value of the rights,” he said.

Data will be customized to each fans’ preference, according to Heyden, in a manner so “if I am fan of Club A and I hate Club B or I don’t like Club B, I only get news about Club B if they lose and not if they win.”

“In the future the consumption of sports generally and football, or soccer as it would be in the U.S., is going to be about any fan being able to have a different fan experience,” said Robert Klein, the CEO of Bundesliga International. “To be able to manage the wealth of information that we have and then drive it into meaningful products through the pipes, through to TV, through to the websites or through to mobile, we need a partner with the experience of an AWS, their ability of course in cloud service in terms of delivery, but also the innovation and understanding of artificial intelligence and machine learning.”

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