The German Bundesliga has integrated Amazon Web Services technology into live broadcasts to give football fans a real-time overview of the matches taking place in front of them.
Amazon's cloud infrastructure and artificial intelligence (AI) will be deployed to collect player data and generate two forms of information: average positions and expected goals (xGoals).
The first follows the positions each player takes on the field, which AWS believes will provide viewers with an overview of their team's expected play style. xGoals, on the other hand, is a measure of the probability that a player will score a goal with a shot from any given position on the field.
The feature was launched last night for the match between Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich, known as Der Klassiker due to the fierce and long-standing rivalry between the two teams.
x Objectives and average positions
The Bundesliga – the country's first division – is the first major football league in Europe to resume operations after the coronavirus pandemic, albeit behind closed doors. As such, the eyes of football fans around the world are firmly trained on the German elite.
Although the league has not traditionally attracted international attention or acclaim from the English Premier League, for example, the Bundesliga hopes the new real-time statistics will help maintain high odds once rivalry has resumed.
“AWS is helping the Bundesliga improve the viewing experience for shows by providing more in-depth information about the game that did not exist before,” said Andy Isherwood, vice president and general manager EMEA at AWS.
“With AWS, the Bundesliga is able to provide real-time statistics to predict games and future results. These two new stats are just the beginning of what we will be able to provide to football fans as we look forward to unlocking new ways to better educate, engage and entertain viewers around the world. “
To assess average positions, AWS captures and analyzes information about each player's average location on the field, and then transmits the resulting analysis to home viewers.
To calculate xGoals, the Bundesliga will rely on Amazon SageMaker – a service designed to build, train and deploy machine learning models. To ensure the greatest possible accuracy, the models were trained on data from 40,000 shots on goal from previous games, as well as on a position data table.
“We at the Bundesliga can use this advanced AWS technology, including statistics, analysis and machine learning, to interpret the data and provide deeper insights and a better understanding of decisions made in a fraction second in the field, ”added Andreas Heyden, executive vice president of digital innovations for the DFL group.
While Der Klassiker last night was selected as the litmus test, information on average positions will be available for all future Bundesliga broadcasts, while xGoals will only be available for highlight matches.