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MEDIA ALERT: LaLiga uses the Databricks Lakehouse Platform to analyze competitions and create data-driven sports

March 31, 2022
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LaLiga has built on the Databricks Lakehouse Platform to review player performance, engage with fans and democratize data for the sports and entertainment industries

Databricks, the data and AI company, today announced that LaLiga, Spain’s leading football competition, is using Databricks’ Lakehouse Platform to boost performance on and off the pitch, delivering unprecedented sporting insights whilst also offering more personalized experiences for fans and changing the way people engage with the sports they love.

In order for sports organizations to digitally transform, the ability to perform artificial intelligence (AI) and machine learning (ML) on an increasing mass of structured and unstructured data is paramount. The data science team at LaLiga Tech, the technology arm of LaLiga, recognizes this challenge and is pioneering new ways to place data at the heart of LaLiga as well as its global array of clients.

A lakehouse architecture is the foundation for its data strategy and cuts away at complexity. It allows LaLiga to access its data in a single data lake and perform AI, ML and BI on a single platform. This empowers the LaLiga Tech team to access data, create models and create statistical valuations just with one click rather than having to spend a lot of time extracting and downloading data from various databases.

The lakehouse ecosystem has been so pivotal for LaLiga, that in 2021 it launched LaLiga Tech as a separate commercial entity, bringing together all the technical solutions of LaLiga and offering the same tools to the sports, media and entertainment industries.

Guillermo Roldán, head of the architectural department at LaLiga Tech comments , “We are creating a world where data informs almost every aspect of how sports are played and experienced. The Databricks Lakehouse Platform has been transformative not just in our ability to analyze game-play, but it has also been part of the foundation of the whole LaLiga Tech business which is democratizing data for the whole industry. Our ecosystem of digital services is not just changing football, but other sports around the world as well as leading media companies. I think we are just at the tipping point of what can be achieved with data and AI.”

The data team at LaLiga Tech is using data and AI in three core areas:

  • Math statistics and in-play analysis: Each club’s stadium in LaLiga has multiple optimal cameras that capture each match in high definition. This allows the team to track the movement of the player and the ball. Each camera shoots 25 frames per second which is around 300,000 frames per match, with each frame having a dozen variables. The data team uses two main types of data, one called ‘Eventing’ which are things like passes, shots on goal and tackles. Data is also extracted from the tracking of the ball captured on the video image. This wealth of information, available through the Mediacoach tool, allows club data scientists to view real-time tactical insights, perform detailed pre- or post-match analysis or even predict player injuries before they occur. As well as delivering this information to clubs, LaLiga Tech’s data scientists investigate new ways to visualize this information for broadcast audiences. A recent example is the ‘Goal Probability’ metric that is now shown within goal replays during televised matches.
  • Global Fan engagement: LaLiga Tech has grouped all technology platforms together under a single ecosystem, using single sign-on and telemetry to create a 360 degree view of fans, capturing first-party data to help create tailored campaigns and more personalized experiences.
  • Analytics at scale and real- time collaboration: The data team synchronizes unstructured, semi-structured and structured data together at scale and without the need to sacrifice performance. It can run ML models that work from gigabytes to terabytes of data, all in one environment, all over the world and in real-time.

Rafael Zambrano, head of data science, LaLiga Tech concludes, “Working with Databricks has completely changed our ability to access data through one unified environment, enabling ML at scale unlike ever before. We see a future where sport can use data to enrich the experience of clubs, players and fans and power new growth opportunities. I believe that Databricks can help us realize that future.

About LaLiga
LaLiga is a global, innovative and socially responsible organization, a leader in the leisure and entertainment sector. It is a private sports association composed of the 20 football Clubs/SADs of LaLiga Santander and 22 in LaLiga SmartBank, responsible for the organization of these national professional football competitions. LaLiga is the football competition with the most followers on social networks in the world, already exceeding 140 million, on 16 platforms and 15 different languages. Headquartered in Madrid (Spain), it is present in 41 countries through 11 offices and 44 delegates. The association carries out its social action through its Foundation and is the world's first professional football league with a league for intellectually challenged footballers: LaLiga Genuine Santander.

About LaLiga Tech
LaLiga Tech is a provider of specialized technologies for the global sports and entertainment sector, helping customers reach the next stage of their digital transformation. It offers a single interconnected data ecosystem providing modular solutions for global fan engagement, competition management and content enhancement, including real-time data integration and content protection. LaLiga Tech solutions have formed a central part of LaLiga since 2014 and are now used by a wide range of global clients.

About Databricks
Databricks is the data and AI company. More than 7,000 organizations worldwide — including Comcast, Condé Nast, H&M, and over 40% of the Fortune 500 — rely on the Databricks Lakehouse Platform to unify their data, analytics and AI. Databricks is headquartered in San Francisco, with offices around the globe. Founded by the original creators of Apache Spark™, Delta Lake and MLflow, Databricks is on a mission to help data teams solve the world’s toughest problems. To learn more, follow Databricks on Twitter, LinkedIn and Facebook.

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