Revolutionizing how sports are played and experienced
LaLiga uses Databricks Lakehouse to optimize player performance and create the ultimate fan experience
“Databricks Lakehouse has made what was previously impossible extremely easy. Now we can put the power of data into the hands of leagues everywhere to deliver sporting analytics and experiences like no other.”
— Guillermo Roldán, Head of Architecture at LaLiga Tech
LaLiga is changing the world of sports and entertainment. Through the use of real-time streaming data generated by hundreds of cameras across stadiums, teams have access to unprecedented levels of actionable insights — revolutionizing the way the game is coached, played and enjoyed. It’s all made possible with the Databricks Lakehouse Platform, which processes petabytes of video stream data to help analyze in-game information. With Lakehouse, LaLiga can provide insights that help players get better at their game and deliver personalized fan experiences. After spearheading innovation within their football league, LaLiga has now become a data and AI company by offering these capabilities to sports teams around the world through the new entity, LaLiga Tech.
Bringing real-time data insights to sports
Data and analytics is rapidly becoming the cornerstone for how the sports industry operates — from gaining insights into winning strategies to delivering fan experiences that drive viewership and brand loyalty. LaLiga, one of the most-watched football leagues in the world, has been a front-runner in the adoption and use of data and AI to improve the fan experience.
Football clubs haven’t historically used data for decision-making, but LaLiga’s mission has been to change that by providing clubs with the opportunity to analyze in-game information. This helps them better understand how to get the most from their players and deliver the best experience for their passionate fanbase. With a deeper understanding of these data insights, clubs can improve match outcomes, prevent player injury and deliver the exact information that fans crave to drive team loyalty and revenue.
LaLiga is rich with digital assets captured by hundreds of high-performance HD cameras embedded throughout their stadiums. These cameras capture 300,000 frames of in-game action per match, including all player and ball movement, generating petabytes of information on a daily basis. In the face of harnessing massive amounts of structured and unstructured data, LaLiga struggled to efficiently ingest the volumes of live-action data and extract insights that business stakeholders could understand and put into action.
“We had several problems keeping us from truly building a data-first culture,” said Guillermo Roldán, Head of Architecture at LaLiga Tech. “We weren’t able to efficiently ingest all our data. And we weren’t able to effectively communicate and share with the business leaders how data is a valuable asset for our business. What we needed was a platform that would help us harness this amount of data to deliver on our mission.”
Streaming analytics at massive scale
Once LaLiga plugged in Databricks, their goal became a reality. The Databricks Lakehouse Platform on Microsoft Azure now serves as the foundation for their operational analytics platform by simplifying the ingestion of petabytes of video stream data for downstream analytics and real-time machine learning — without sacrificing performance.
Delta Lake provides a common data layer that unifies and prepares all their data sets for analytics and ML. Today, Delta Lake underpins a cost-effective, highly scalable lakehouse for LaLiga. “We must always deliver the most current and accurate data to our business partners, otherwise they’ll lose confidence in the insights,” explained Guillermo. “Delta Lake provides reliability that our previous infrastructure lacked.”
With data flowing seamlessly, they can start the creative process of generating questions, such as, how close is a player to scoring a goal? With Power BI, they are able to deliver reports and dashboards to help business stakeholders make smarter decisions that impact team operations and revenue. With MLflow, they can build, train and deploy predictive models designed to do things like track the movement of players and the ball in the field in real time, meaning they can analyze player performance, speed and health to make in-game decisions about gameplay. On the football-fan side, Databricks enabled LaLiga to begin examining fan behavior, allowing for more personalized content experiences and ultimately turning data into both world-class entertainment and e-commerce opportunities.
The dawn of a new era of data-driven sports
With Databricks serving as the foundation for building data-driven capabilities within their football league, they are now setting their sights on expanding access to their technology to sports and entertainment organizations around the globe. For most organizations, building out data and AI capabilities requires heavy investments in time and resources — a luxury many organizations don’t have. With LaLiga Tech, teams can modernize their approach to business operations and performance optimization at a fraction of the cost and complexity. As LaLiga continues to expand their reach globally, there are no limits to how many customers they can bring on and the overarching impact LaLiga Tech can have on all aspects of sports and entertainment moving forward.
“Databricks has made what was previously impossible extremely easy. And with LaLiga Tech, we can now put the power of data and AI into the hands of all sporting and entertainment organizations, helping them deliver a product like no other to those who matter most — their fans,” concluded Guillermo.