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Fancy hacking Man City? Happy days: Footy club to host hackathon

Moneyball-style data crunching applied to the beautiful game

Manchester City FC has detailed plans to become the first football club to host a data hackathon.

The English Premier League Team hopes the event will lead to exclusive insights into the performance of football stars such as Joe Hart, Yaya Touré and Sergio Agüero.

Participants in the weekend hack event will be offered access to performance analysis systems, as well as detailed player and match data, to help them uncover new insights on player performance.

Tech experts and students are both invited to Manchester City’s #HackMCFC event, which is due to take place at City’s training and youth development facility, close to the club’s east Manchester stadium, between the 29-31 July. The weekend hacking exercise will end with teams presenting their prototypes.

The Premier League, OptaPro and ChyronHego are all supporting the event, which will see participants crunching data from ten Premier League fixtures played last season.

Expert teams will compete for an as-yet unspecified cash prize, plus the potential to develop any technologies they come up with alongside MCFC. Students could win internships at the football club or prizes. Applications are subject to a selection process.

All of this goes to show that when it comes to Big Data, at least, Man City are a massive club with a forward-looking technology strategy to boot.

In a statement, Ed Sulley, head of research and innovation for City Football Services, commented: “This Hackathon enables us to engage fans of both sport and technology in this process, and the support of the Premier League means we can provide them with a unique opportunity to access exclusive data they can use to develop creative ideas. We look forward to working with the participants and seeing what ground-breaking technologies they can bring to the table.”

Ben Mackriell, head of OptaPro, added: “The application of advanced analytics within professional football has progressed significantly over the past 18 months and is an area where OptaPro has strived to help teams begin to understand its value.”

More information on the event – along with sign-up forms – can be found on the site here. ®

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