Australia Sports Technology Week: A review

Posted 5th September 2019


Find out more about Stats Perform's involvement across the week in Melbourne

Sports Tech Cup

The week kicked off with the Australia Sports Tech Cup on the 17th and 18th of August. Teams came together to take part in a hackathon, collaborating to showcase creativity in problem-solving, with a shared enthusiasm for technology in the sport industry bringing students and professionals together.

The hackathon, hosted at La Trobe University, was powered by Opta data from the 2019 ICC Cricket World Cup, challenging teams to solve real-world problems in cricket, including how to attract new fans to the sport, as well as giving a modern makeover to the outdated scorecard.

The hackathon provided a real opportunity for those that are enthralled with both sports and the evolving technology within the industry, to work with real-game data, allowing a deeper engagement with the industry. 

"As a person passionate about coding and about the sport industry I loved having the opportunity to participate in the Australia Sports Tech Cup. Hearing the different ideas put forward by the top five finalists demonstrated the exciting new innovation that is happening in every industry including sports"

- Roisin Briscoe, Participant

Ten teams tackled the challenges in time-pressured conditions, delivering a short pitch of their ideas just six hours after first delving into the rich and detailed data-set. Five teams were shortlisted to produce a four-minute presentation expanding upon their ideas, under a push for concise and clear ideas. Solutions were impressive, with one team producing a fully-functioning, viable app in the short time-frame, which housed a match-centre. 

Teams presented a short, four-minute pitch.

The verdict

Following five impressive presentations, the remaining teams were tested with the judge's questions. The teams faced a tough crowd, with Stats Perform's Steve Cliffe, VP of Business Development for Asia Pacific region, among the panel. 

Five Hot Encoders took the throne in first place on their debut in the Sports Tech Cup. The team of University of Melbourne students developed a solution involving the prediction of key events, generating personalised notifications for the casual cricket fan, as well as super fans.

The runners up also produced interesting and innovative solutions, ranging from a virtual reality solution which aimed to replicate the in-stadia experience for fans at home, to new metrics such as Expected Runs and Expected Wickets. 

Five Hot Encoders from University of Melbourne took home the prize.

The dataset provided to us was unbelievably detailed, a big shout out to Opta for giving us access to such a rich dataset. The problem statement was clear and the questions asked were very concise. It was a real bonus to win the hackathon given that we did not have great expectations prior to the event
- Five Hot Encoders
It was valuable to see how our data can be used by a variety of individuals with varied experience and skill-sets during the hackathon. It was reassuring to hear how well structured and deep our cricket data is from the contestants. It was also interesting to see that all teams progressed with similar concepts and outputs.

- Steve Cliffe, Co-Judge

See highlights of the hackathon below 


Sports Tech Conference

The action returned in Melbourne on 23rd August as Tom Worville, Data Scientist, and Patrick Lucey, VP of Artificial Intelligence, both spoke as part of the Technical an Data science track at the Australia Sports Tech Conference. 

Tom discussed data-powered footballing stories from the EPL.

Patrick Lucey spoke about the value of AI in sports.

Data-powered footballing stories 

Tom discussed the data-powered footballing stories that have emerged from English Football, including how OptaJoe's tweet about Jorginho's role in midfield sparked a debate on social media about Jorghino's impact at Chelsea. Tom used Opta data to reveal any truths in the story and address many arguments put forward in the debate.

He also used Opta's advanced metrics to illuminate the impact of many well-known Premier League players, including Marcus Rashford and his involvement in Manchester United's defeat of Chelsea.

OptaJoe's tweet sparked a social media debate on Jorginho's impact at Chelsea.

Opta's advanced metrics

Tom showcased Opta's sequences framework, using the advanced Opta metric to reveal Marcus Rashford's involvement in Man Utd's goal against Chelsea. Rashford's involvement would previously have been missed, showcasing how Opta's advanced metrics drive a deeper insight into the game for fans, and those associated with the game everywhere.


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