World Cup 2018 and using data in sport

With the World Cup only a matter of weeks ago, England fans all over the country are slowly returning to normality, while the players themselves will only have only had a few weeks off before returning to their clubs and starting preparation for the new season. The Premier League starts again tomorrow and the 2018/19 season will be underway for every team across the country.

The players Mr Southgate selected for the World Cup were the cream of the crop, the best footballing talent that England has to offer. They will likely be the best performers in the Premier League with the England squad one of the only squads to be fully represented by its own domestic league. Last season they will have scored the most goals, had the highest pass completion rates and have shone amongst their peers.

The rise of statistics in sport has been nothing short of epic over the past ten or so years, so much so that it is now a multimillion pound industry in its own right.  Companies such as Opta provide statistics for the Premier League and all of the 20 clubs will have their own analysts to track every detail of the game, from simple things like how far players are running to how long they spend in each heart rate zone – which will then help them plan in-depth recovery and nutrition plans. Clubs employ tens of people as analysts who crunch numbers and report every detail back to the management and coaches. These roles are more crucial now than ever with clubs recognising that even the smallest margins and advantages can have a big impact on the rest of the season. Long gone are the days of running up hills in pre-season, now everything is measured to precise detail and data is at the heart of all decisions. Players even wear performance monitoring vests in games now, something that our World Cup winners of 1966 would never have dreamed possible.

This is, in essence, another example of how data can be used to develop strategies.  You can guarantee that England’s top players will have been given enough rest between games to make sure they are in peak condition for the next game and this line of thinking can equally be applied to the business world. What could we do better if we used the data we have to inform decisions?

Businesses often have vast amounts of data in-house about their customers, but its not always easy to extract value from it. For example, if you know 60% of customers who buy product X have also bought product Y then why not do an ‘offer’ to the remaining 40% who haven’t already bought it?

Here at Zing we are no strangers to collecting data, but we also make a point of reviewing existing data to see if there is anything that can save time and money when conducting new research projects. Why bother asking something if we already know it? We can import existing data into our systems and append it into our surveys, allowing us to route the respondents down a specific path to get more insight from fewer questions.

This allows us to ask more valuable questions, questions that can be used to help make decisions and build strategies. Company data can also be used to align our research results to audience segments that are already being used within a business and this means we can build on pre-existing knowledge of these groups of people and in turn means we can deliver better recommendations and considerations to our clients.

We love exploring data and finding a story in it and to bring it back to the football example, we could help your team improve its performance and in turn better serve and satisfy your customers, visitors, exhibitors or clients.


Posted by Jonathan


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