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Soccer Talent Scouting Application Teams Up With Video Game Publisher

samzenpus posted about 2 months ago | from the let-the-game-decide dept.

Technology 39

ClockEndGooner writes Professional club football in Europe, or soccer, as it's known here in the States, is perhaps the most expensive and costly professional team sport in the world. Yesterday, Spain's traditional powerhouse, Real Madrid, fielded a starting eleven roster that cost the club over $637 Million (£382 Million Pounds Sterling) to acquire and assemble over the past six seasons against rival club Sevilla in the UEFA Super Cup match played in Cardiff, Wales. With billions of dollars spent by the top teams in the world's most competitive leagues in Europe, and billions more at stake from TV royalties and commercial licensing rights, its crucial talent scouts, general managers or "gaffers", sporting directors and club owners and the rest of their back office staff do their homework before recruiting and signing new players. Prozone Sports Ltd. has turned to game publisher Sports Interative's popular Football Manager video game to include more player data and archived video footage of tens of thousands of players from across the world in its Prozone Recruiter application to help clubs make better and more informed decisions on player performances and strengths. Though not officially published, it is known that many of the top clubs in England, Spain, Germany, Italy, France, Holland and Russia rely on Prozone Recruiter.

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Paid Advertisisment? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669319)

Sure sounds like it...

Gamification, and SECOND POST!!! (1)

turp182 (1020263) | about 2 months ago | (#47669327)

Want to gamify your job?

Shoot for performance gains and collect statistics. Maximize performance.

I’m on a small team, the Architect and Developer, that’s me (I can’t get a business card with a title of “Hand of the Architect”, damn it). We can only do small, specific projects.

Our most successful project involved moving Excel data to an AS400 and running programs to process it.

The Architect wanted stats. So I broke the process down into measurable steps (7 or 8) and logged everything in the application (Stopwatch is a favorite .Net class). I also timed users performing the terrible manual process (it was as if they were robots, performing rote action, over and over again).

80%+ improvement in process speed (being able to show this was awesome). Batch functionality freed up tons of time.

Collect stats when reworking processes. Prove it.

Same goes for football/soccer apparently

Re:Gamification, and SECOND POST!!! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669345)

Gamify your soccer game for MAXIMAL REDUNDANCY.

Sad state of affairs (1)

GeekWithAKnife (2717871) | about 2 months ago | (#47669343)

One of these pro footballers can earn in a week more than the average university professor earns in a year.

It's even worse when you hear what some of these professionals have to say. Let's not even scrutinize the behaviors often portrayed by a few of them...

Countless hours of work, decades of teaching, contributing to the community and educating the next generation often falls short of even an amateur footballers' salary.

Kicking/throwing a ball for a living can net you stupid amounts of money, is it a wonder why children today want to be athletes and celebrities etc?

Re:Sad state of affairs (2)

Thanshin (1188877) | about 2 months ago | (#47669365)

It's a natural consequence of the underlying system.

A slightly better soccer player can add millions of spectators to each match that team plays. So, the player is indeed causing a production that corresponds to his cost. It's not a player's "fault"; they are just a product. Arguing over a professional sports player price is like arguing about the price of a marketing campaign.

A simple marketing campaign can cost more than the life's salary of an university professor, and yet it doesn't add any value to society. But that's a problem of capitalism, not of the marketing industry nor the sports industry.

Services are not too expensive nor too cheap in themselves; they cost as much as the market values them.

Re:Sad state of affairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669383)

Ah yes! University professors are all hard working saints who have nothing in mind but bettering humanity who got where they are with sheer grit!

While these footballers just woke up one day and discovered that they can play professionally!

And it is a sad state of affairs that a footballer can fill a stadium of sheeple shelling out their hard earned money doing something horribly beneath that of the university professor.

I mean, professional caliber athletes are a dime dozen while people with Ph.D.s looking for work in academia is virtually impossible to find.

Ah yes, truly disgusting!

Re:Sad state of affairs (1)

Richard_at_work (517087) | about 2 months ago | (#47669441)

Your comparison stands true for a lot of entertainment orientated people - singers, songwriters, actors, screen writers etc etc etc all get paid more than the average university professor.

But the reasons are easy enough to uncover - a university professor can never come close to the audiences that pro or even amateur sports athletes can generate. When was the last 90 minute long lecture that commanded 50,000 seated attendees, a televised audience of tens of millions, and a further extended audience of hundreds of millions? Not even the recent series by Neil deGrasse Tyson can command those sorts of figures...

Re:Sad state of affairs (1)

mike1086 (188761) | about 2 months ago | (#47669533)

The problem is you are comparing the "elite superstar" entertainers against "average" university professors.

The "average" entertainers, who are mainly waitresses, "Z" list wannabes, and amateur sports people relying on hand outs; are next to nothing when compared to the "average" university professor pay of 150K per year. Life time earning comparisons would be even less considering the short lived, less than ten year life span, of most pro athletes.

Uni professors wins hands down at the "elite" end of the spectrum too. World number one soccer player, Cristiano Ronaldo, earns 200m over just 5 years, playing on average 90 minutes per week, every week. Compare that to one - Dr. Henry Walton Jones, Jr - a college archaeology professor, who'm on any of his few televised treasure hunts, commands an audience of hundreds of millions, and generates billions of dollars revenue.

Re:Sad state of affairs (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669585)

A few things to bear in mind:
the professor has a useful working life of at least 25 years, assuming he reaches his professorship at age 40. Before that, he's done at least 15 years of useful research work.
The pro footballer (or soccer player, if you prefer) has a useful life of a maximum of 15 years. Many start at age 20 and at 32 they're burnt out and have to retire.

Football also has a very useful international cultural exchange function, in that it introduces audiences to players from different countries and cultures and thereby helps to reduce prejudice and animosity. Jürgen Klinsmann's stint playing for a London club (I forget which one) springs to mind: when he cracked a few jokes in a TV interview in Britain, there were tabloid press comments along the lines of "oh look, a German with a sense of humour!". Football away games in foreign countries prompt fans to visit places they'd never think of going to if it weren't for the football match they wanted to watch.

Thirdly, we're talking about a *tiny* percentage of millionaires. Just as in the music industry, there's a *huge* long tail of kickers who make a few bob, possibly even a few grand here and there, but don't have the talent for the big-time and cannot really live off the game.

Re:Sad state of affairs (1)

umghhh (965931) | about 2 months ago | (#47669595)

I thought the same for a long time and still do to some extent. But the last World Cup changed my view slightly. Consistent performance of Germany in recent tournaments show that not only the trainer was good and his strategy was OK but also that basics like team work, good local players that is not easy to get if most of your stars are from abroad as seems to be the case in England top league. If the main clubs have so much money then they buy their players in the whole world as that is easier than taking care of local players. So yes some of them are overpaid but success is not always in the budget or at least not only there.

Other than that they can dope, go to hookers and drive under influence for what I care - they are not my people. You can also see that in football countries there is sometimes a trend to lower leagues where football match is what it used to be - a game between two teams of which one is local in a very good sense i.e. people know these guys and by supporting them often meet their neighbours. That is 'slightly' different from premier league. Maybe it is a coincidence but in the world cup 2014 you could see how teams built from stars fail and how teams built on team spirit win. Or so I would like to see it maybe.

Soccer's been sold out (1)

GrahamCox (741991) | about 2 months ago | (#47669351)

Soccer has been sold out to the corporate sector. It's no longer about players and the love of the game, it's just about maximising profit.

Germany, who just won the World Cup, don't tend to do it this way so much - instead they invest in youth soccer training and mentoring, spotting and nurturing young talent. As a result, most of the teams in the Bundesliga are "worth" far, far less in pure financial terms (though I'm not claiming that there isn't a great deal of corporatism there as well, it just hasn't quite reached the same insane levels as the UK for example).

It's sad to see the game that was once the passion of every working class member of society become basically Formula 1 with boots on, with ticket prices only the wealthy can afford.

Re:Soccer's been sold out (1)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669447)

The Netherlands produces lots of good players. The national team made the semi-final in the world cup. But the club teams just suck. Why? Because the experienced players get bought at a young age, and the clubs are permanently building a new team from scratch. Every year again, you end up cheering for some new players that you've never heard of.

The competition, and the number of supporters is just too small to cough up the huge sums of money needed to keep the best players.

Re:Soccer's been sold out (1)

edawstwin (242027) | about 2 months ago | (#47670529)

So don't watch top-tier league matches. There are plenty of teams made up of "working class member[s] of society" with very affordable ticket prices everywhere.

Football Manager (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 months ago | (#47669353)

I should explain for those unfamiliar with Football Manager (nee Championship Manager): it's not really like a game. It's more like an enormous spreadsheet crossed with a fanatical religion. There was uproar when they added a little simulation of the matches playing out using coloured dots... in 2003.

You kind of suspect that there's some huge archive of historical data about football in the back of a project like that, to parameterise the players and teams, but it never occurred to me that they had 1300 of their own scouts performing observations.

Re:Football Manager (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 2 months ago | (#47669405)

What do you mean add in simulation of the matches? That was an integral feature right from the ZX Spectrum version in 1982. []

Re:Football Manager (1)

Molt (116343) | about 2 months ago | (#47669507)

That game wasn't part of the same series, as made clear at the start of the Football Manager [] writeup. The CM/FM series only had text descriptions of matches to start with and there were a lot of traditionalists who complained when they announced there were to be graphics added.

Re:Football Manager (1)

jabuzz (182671) | about 2 months ago | (#47669653)

I was just pointing out that the original football management game, the one that started the whole concept had graphical displays of the match almost from the beginning.

Re:Football Manager (1)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 months ago | (#47669677)

Sorry for the misunderstanding, I was referring to the game called Football Manager that used to be called Championship Manager, with the religious following.

Re:Football Manager (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669541)

The motion-capture and CGI was ground-breaking for its time.

Re:Football Manager (1)

edawstwin (242027) | about 2 months ago | (#47670581)

You kind of suspect that there's some huge archive of historical data about football in the back of a project like that, to parameterise the players and teams, but it never occurred to me that they had 1300 of their own scouts performing observations.

From what I've read on their own forums, they do have an enormous number of "scouts" that give them information, but most are volunteers, so the information is sometimes suspect. I'm sure that most of the players in the top leagues around the world have fairly accurate attributes, but when you're relying on one guy in Uruguay, for example, to give you info on every third-tier team, some of it naturally going to be way off. So teams that will be using this data hopefully understand that those 1300 "scouts" are usually just fans of the game that happen to live in an area where they can contribute.

Soccer, or football... (1)

EzInKy (115248) | about 2 months ago | (#47669371) nothing but a great waste of resources. If only all the energy devoted to such trivalities as sports were dedicated to science.

Re:Soccer, or football... (2)

Sockatume (732728) | about 2 months ago | (#47669389)

If my experience at conferences has taught me anything, it's that without football we'd have a lot more very sober and very grumpy scientists in Europe.

All that money... (2)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47669411)

And I still have to turn it off after a couple minutes because it's putting me to sleep.

Re:All that money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669587)

Yeah, if the score isn't 98-72, it's boring. There's nothing at all repetitive about ludicrously high scoring game based on netball.

Or maybe American football where there's more breaks than action.

You're pretty much the only country in the world that hasn't embraced Football. Normally I'd say each to their own, but the American obsession with proving how manly they are by not watching football is ridiculous.

If you want to re-join the Empire, we'll teach you cricket too.

Re:All that money... (1)

frogjimmy (1253756) | about 2 months ago | (#47669815)

Sales pitch of cricket to Americans : Imagine a game that takes longer and is simpler to understand than baseball. Imagine being at the park for, very likely, 4 to 6 hours. Think of all the beer you can drink at an event like this.

Re:All that money... (1)

tlhIngan (30335) | about 2 months ago | (#47670727)

Sales pitch of cricket to Americans : Imagine a game that takes longer and is simpler to understand than baseball. Imagine being at the park for, very likely, 4 to 6 hours. Think of all the beer you can drink at an event like this.

Hours? Proper cricket matches can last for DAYS - you start at sunup, play until sundown, rest, and continue the game the next morning!

One of the few places left that actively plays cricket (India) actually do have games lasting for days at a time.

Re:All that money... (1)

frogjimmy (1253756) | about 2 months ago | (#47670857)

I figure ease them into day long limited-over matches, then lock'em in with three and five day affairs!

Re:All that money... (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669661)

Amen brother. You just can't beat spandex catchball or rounders for fat lads for that pure adrenaline excitement!!!!!!

Re:All that money... (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#47669735)

And I still have to turn it off after a couple minutes because it's putting me to sleep.

So right there bro. That's why I'm drawn to the NFL. That is just so exciting to watch in comparison. The anticipation of spotting the 15 minutes totality of the ball actually in play over a three hour game is so addictive. That really keeps me on the edge of my seat every time. Its like an extended "Where's Wally?" game right there on my TV. /sarcasm

Haters going to hate no matter what.

You don't like the sport, then turn it off. No one is forcing you to watch it, and no-one is saying that you have to like it.

Re:All that money... (1)

edawstwin (242027) | about 2 months ago | (#47670503)

And I still have to turn it off after a couple minutes because it's putting me to sleep.

Not every game has to have a high score to be exciting (I'm assuming that's why you find it boring). Look at USA-Belgium in the World Cup: 0-0 after 90 minutes and one of the most exciting games of the tournament even before extra time. American sports fans have been unintentionally brainwashed by the major sports here to want score-score-score, but as more people watch the one true sport, more people are "converting", especially when they find out no ads for 45 minutes at a time.

Re:All that money... (1)

Chas (5144) | about 2 months ago | (#47674613)

You all need to step back and take a breath.

It has nothing to do with scoring. Just the game itself puts me to sleep.
I don't watch football for much the same reason.
And, while I've enjoyed a few live baseball games, I don't go out of my way to go to them and never watch them on TV.
About the closest I come is Hockey. And, even there, I don't usually pay lots of attention.

All in all, I view the enterprise as a giant waste of time and money.

Spreadsheet (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669425)

Football Manager is a fascinating game. Forget whether you're actually interested in football or not. It's not really about football (much like Jaws isn't really about sharks).

It's about trying to understand and outwit the game's underlying mechanics. As has been said, the game is basically one massive spreadsheet. Each of the thousands of players in the game has 30-odd visible stats (eg, pace, passing, creativity strength etc), plus many more invisible ones. The tactics engine is also incredibly customisable.

So the challenge is figuring out how the game engine works so you can identify its flaws. That way you can develop a combination of players and tactics that can outwit it and consistently deliver big winning margins.

What.. the FUCK (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669437)

Is this shit doing on Slashdot? This isnt news for nerds and it sure as fuck doesnt matter

Not Sports (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 2 months ago | (#47669539)

This, along with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc., etc., are nothing more than big business. When players are bought and sold, the "team" with the most money normally wins. I'm very much in favor of seeing elite competition, but all of the chest thumping by teams like this is meaningless.

Re:Not Sports (1)

OzPeter (195038) | about 2 months ago | (#47669751)

This, along with the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, etc., etc., are nothing more than big business. When players are bought and sold, the "team" with the most money normally wins. I'm very much in favor of seeing elite competition, but all of the chest thumping by teams like this is meaningless.

I have a saying "Sport is something you do, entertainment is something you watch"

But what is even more criminal is all these teams that have all that money to spend on their players, still force cities to build them stadiums and training facilities, or they threaten to walk. That is is a racket, plain and simple.

Re:Not Sports (1)

dcw3 (649211) | about 2 months ago | (#47672839)

I actually have mixed feelings there. The cities make tons of extra tax money simply because of the teams existence. But yeah, I'm not in favor of them funding new stadiums and such.

Re:Not Sports (1)

PPalmgren (1009823) | about 2 months ago | (#47669793)

Most large leagues, at least in the US sans MLB, have some sort of salary cap structure. This means one team can't spend beyond a certain amount on players in order to keep competition closer to parity, which makes the games/tournaments more exciting and hence drives revenue through more involved fanbases.

Russia? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 2 months ago | (#47669547)

Are we at East Ukrainian conflict again? Man this shit never ends.

The Numbers Game (1)

DavidMZ (3411229) | about 2 months ago | (#47669741)

Although football is a still late in the numbers race compared to some other sports, it is rapidly catching up. For a nice view of the power of numbers in football, and what makes football unique as a sport, I strongly recommend reading The Numbers Game [] .
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