The Dutch startup SciSports today announced that it has raised an extra €1.8 million with existing and new investors. The fresh capital will be used to roll-out the SciSkill Index worldwide and implement the BallJames data machine in various stadiums in countries such as England and Germany. In the last few years, SciSports has worked on building the SciSkill Index, a fully automated solution that calculates the quality, talent, and value of every professional football player in the world. With the in-house developed capturing reality technology called BallJames, which generates complete 3D data in real-time, we created a refined total solution that immediately converts events in practice or during the match to useful information and knowledge.
SciSports started in 2012 as a spin-off of the University of Twente and currently has 45 employees. The Enschede-based company has been working for several clubs and agents in the Netherlands, Belgium, England, Portugal, Brazil, Germany, and Italy.
The SciSkill Index is probably the only objective worldwide player index that makes it possible to compare the quality of football players all around the world. Every week, over 2000 matches in 210 leagues are analyzed by the SciSkill algorithm, through which the SciSkill Index automatically adjusts the quality of 350.000 football players in an index. The index measures the influence of a player on a match and the individual development. With this, it calculates the market value and the potential of a player, based on his current quality and the growth of other players in the past. The SciSkill is not only interesting for clubs, as it also beats the bookmakers in predicting matches and is the ideal input for Fantasy Football games.
BallJames is a real-time tracking technology developed by SciSports that automatically generates 3D data from video images of football matches. In the stadium, fourteen cameras are installed, which record all the movements on the field. BallJames then generates its own data such as the precision, direction and speed of the passing, sprinting strength, jumping strength, player movements and how close the ball stays to the foot after a first touch. The Polman Stadium of Heracles Almelo is the first stadium in the world equipped with this system. At the moment, a second stadium in England is being equipped with the first official Beta version of Balljames and in collaboration with the University of Twente, a test field will be set up for academic research.
Giels Brouwer, the founder of SciSports stated: “Football is our focus. With the SciSkill, we have created a new opportunity to help clubs finding talent in undiscovered regions. The unique part is that we have built an index that values a player regardless of his position, club or nationality. Our Datascouting department helps the clubs and explores the market, while the Intelligence department automates their findings through Machine Learning. For this to work, we continuously need better data, which is why we started developing BallJames with which we cover the complete value chain in football. We have noticed that not only the world of sports is open to this new form of information. That is why this year we will invest in automated tooling for the media, gambling and gaming industry.”
Gerrit-Jan van Ahee, the CTO of SciSports added: “When BallJames is done, a lot more is possible. Think VR, goal-line technology but for the whole field, think second screen possibilities besides watching football on your TV. It is impossible that we will also deliver the end product in all those markets, but with our engine we will fill the role of pure data supplier. We seek collaboration with existing parties in the market and want to solve the current limitations for them.”