Reimagining Startup and Enterprise Innovation

Sports startups bring immersive experiences and actionable insights to the pitch

Sarah Griffiths
Freelance Journalist

As the knockout stages of UEFA Euro 2020 begin, technology in sport continues to be a topic of discussion. While video assistant referees (VAR) are top of mind, they are not the only new technology making an impact on the pitch.

In a league of our own

The world’s most-watched football league chose Oracle as its official cloud, data and analytics, and machine learning provider. Soon, advanced player and team performance statistics will be displayed during global broadcast coverage, and 3.2 billion fans watching games on their TV every year will get fresh insights such as win probability. 

Oracle and the Premier League will also look to further enhance generation and delivery of insights in the longer term, by developing machine learning models on Oracle Cloud infrastructure (OCI), based on live data streams and statistics from thousands of previous matches. It’s going to be a game-changer.

Giving players the edge in tournaments is big business, too. The European soccer market alone is worth more than £25bn, and clubs are competing to tap into the latest technologies to help them take home the trophies.

These cloud startups are poised to win big by empowering players, teams, and their fans with new technology.

Staying on the ball

Coaches at some of Europe’s leading clubs, which are big teams in the Champion’s League, are using ReSpo.Vision’s AI-powered technology to set their lineups for upcoming games. The Polish startup uses computer vision and AI algorithms to watch soccer games recorded by a single camera. Its technology enables 3D optical tracking of players and the ball at 60 frames-per-second, generating over 159 million data points per game.

That’s a lot of data for coaches to analyze, so ReSpo.Vision’s product turns this raw data into helpful match events and in-game behaviors, which look at the performance of individuals and the team in new detail with enhanced recommendations for game tactics. 

For example, the tool can reveal a player’s fatigue level and acceleration rates, data points that help coaches make predictions about future performance and influence their selection of players. It could also be used to scout new talent and spot the next Cristiano Ronaldo or Harry Kane. Off the field, data can help commentators stay on the ball and even aid bookies in setting the odds. 

“The detailed data allows you to make more educated guesses … and therefore improve processes like performance analytics, tactics, and scouting in clubs,” says Pawel Osterreicher, CEO and cofounder of ReSpo.Vision.

ReSpo.Vision uses several products to support its graphics card-heavy setup, including NVIDIA GPUs to execute AI algorithms every time it analyzes a soccer game, and Oracle VMs with storage and networking services.

Of course, some purists may consider using performance-enhancing tech cheating, but just like high-tech football boot technology or the latest in sports nutrition, more goes into a top performance than we might imagine when watching the game at home.

A front-row seat, from anywhere 

While few of us can actually travel to watch the UEFA European Football Championship at a stadium this summer, technology is giving us increasingly interesting ways to watch our favorite sports.

VRGlass brings 3D experiences to fans who can’t be there in person. In 2017, the startup partnered with a Brazilian soccer team to enable fans to watch their team play in games recorded in 3D on affordable VR headsets. The Brazilian company is also currently working on a top-secret project to enable fans to watch one of the most-viewed finals on the planet in a new way. 

Sports startups' pick for a strong team

Startups like Respo.Vision and VRGlass have discovered a reliable teammate in Oracle for Startups. Both companies are members of the startup program, and both leverage OCI to power their technology. 

“The human factor is awesome,” says Osterreicher about the global startup program. “We’ve received support very quickly … which has been extremely helpful. Most other startup programs just want you as a member, but Oracle for Startups goes beyond this with tech support, business introductions, and other benefits. This is where we perceive real value.”

While soccer games are unpredictable – that’s why we love them! – startups and enterprises connected to the game want beautifully reliable access to the cloud and other technologies, and that's why collaborating with Oracle is a winning combination.

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