What: We talked to Adam Satz, USL’s Senior Director of Digital Services, on the soccer league’s recent partnership with Opta as Official Data Partner of USL League One.
Why it matters: Opta has major global data partnerships within soccer, including the Premier League, LaLiga, Major League Soccer, U.S. Soccer, and the Eredivisie.
In late March, the United Soccer League (USL) and Opta announced the expansion of a partnership which saw the digital sports content company become the Official Data Partner of USL League One. As part of the deal, Opta will continue to provide teams, fans, and media with the same detailed, deep, consistent data as has been recorded for the USL Championship since the start of the 2017 season.
Through the USL League, One website fans are now able to obtain detailed data on each game such as live statistical updates, game-activity mapping, and player heat maps. USL League One teams are also able to integrate Opta’s data into their own websites and content to enhance fans’ experience.
Adam Satz, USL Senior Director of Digital Services, detailed for Portada how the league will be using this partnership to connect better with fans and reach out to new ones. Satz also explained why having the data is important to the league’s growth and development.
Portada: Why is data key to creating sports content?
Adam Satz: “The modern sports fan has grown accustomed to having advanced analytics at their fingertips. Metrics once confined to the boardroom are now the norm.”
“However, stats bring with them an inherent challenge: numbers by themselves can be confusing or boring. So it’s important for us to utilize the wealth of information that is available to us, incorporating data organically into the right stories or creating angles to tell a more compelling, complete story of what it is occurring.”
Subscribe to Portada’s weekly Sports Marketing Updates!
Portada: How relevant is this data for marketing purposes?
AS: “The level of insight we are able to provide is an extremely powerful tool in helping to illuminate the level of play across our professional leagues. By pairing this data with interactive content, we are able to develop new streams that expand our audience while developing targeted partnership opportunities with engaging activations.”
Portada: How can data help you connect with fans?
AS: “We’ve taken a very transparent approach to make a significant amount of data publicly accessible in order to satisfy the appetite of the soccer consumer. Our fan base is filled with passionate, knowledgeable supporters with a rich understanding of the game, so it’s exciting to be able to peel back the curtain and provide a deeper look into what’s happening between the lines.”
Portada: What data generated is the most wanted?
AS: “We’re able to identify trends and apply qualitative judgments regarding the level of play across the league in a way that was not previously possible. In terms of public consumption of the information, we’ve seen heightened interest in the use of distribution statistics, perhaps due to the fact that such metrics are a clear representation of our progression beyond a traditional scoresheet/match report.”