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Arsene Wenger Discussed Soccer Analytics at the 2018 Paris Sport Innovation Summit

Leaders across the sports technology space gathered earlier this week for the seventh edition of the Sports Innovation Society’s Paris Sport Innovation Summit. The event, held over the last two days of October, featured 30 world class speakers and representatives from organizations such as the NBA, LaLiga, the San Francisco 49ers, the Portland Trail Blazers, MIT Sports Lab, and FC Barcelona.
Discussion topics ranged from the innovative tactics used by sports leagues and teams to enhance digital fan engagement, to the latest tracking technology used to monitor athlete performance and lifestyle on and off the field. SiS also conducted a startup competition sponsored by the French Football Federation that featured nine finalists from the athlete performance, player safety, and fan engagement sectors. The selected winners were Pocket Lab, Vald Performance, and Tracktl. Pocket Lab makes a range of small portable sensors that can stream data directly to a smart phone, Vald Performance builds movement, strength, and flexibility testing equipment, and Tracktl is a sound-design agency.
“The platform created by an event such as Sport Innovation Summit is necessary at this important period in the reinvention and revitalization of the sports industry,” said Mounir Zok, Managing Director of consulting firm N3XT Sports. “The rapid pace of technology and innovation means that we need to keep a closer watch on these trends and the SiS has allowed stakeholders across the ecosystem to come together. We are excited to be a part of this event and to help bring these topics to the innovators in the sport and tech space.”

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Zok hosted a one-on-one chat with former Arsenal FC manager Arsene Wenger, discussing both the present and future purpose of analytics and artificial intelligence in soccer. Wenger, who managed Arsenal from 1996 to 2018, revealed how he used technology to evaluate his players based on three main areas: perception, decision making, and execution.
“We used cameras to observe and analyze the perception of players,” said Wenger. “Following the completion of the study we realized that the top players would study their surroundings six to eight times in the 10 seconds before receiving a ball, whereas normal players only did so three to four times. This gave me an immediate opportunity to improve players by focusing on this aspect in training.”
Wenger talked about how he sees the evolution of soccer being dominated by quantification and analysis. He said that coaches will continue to take advantage of data to build their rosters and execute game flow. “The manager of the future will not even be a football [soccer] specialist,” Wenger said. “He will be a data scientist surrounding by other specialists who can breakdown every aspect of the game into quantifiable and actionable insights.”
Sport Innovation Society is also planning to host another Sports Innovation Summit in Tokyo on the last two days of November.
“At the Sport Innovation Summit, we are convinced that progress and innovation comes from bringing people together,” said Arnaud Drijard, CEO of the Sport Innovation Society. “We connect stakeholders from across the sports innovation ecosystem to drive the conversation around what’s next in sports and to determine how to stay ahead of the game.”


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