Early next year, we will be hosting the 2nd OptaPro Analytics Forum in central London.
Back in February, we hosted the first ever event of this type – a unique, free event designed to highlight best practice in the football analytics community, allow professional and amateur analysts to learn from each other and act as a peer review for the best analytical work in football. We felt that there were limited opportunities for clubs to learn directly from amateur analysts, and even fewer for amateur analysts and academics to understand the unique pressures technical staff within clubs were under, so the OptaPro Analytics Forum evolved to plug that gap. By getting both sets of practitioners in a room together, we’re aiming to provide a platform to effectively shape the future of analytical research in professional football.
Last year’s invite-only event was attended by over 100 people, including representatives from over 30 clubs and federations, leading authors, academics and influential amateur analysts.
As I wrote last year in a review of the event, “Interest and appreciation of football data analysis has been around for several years now, but has grown dramatically in the last couple of years with more people than ever interested in applying statistical and analytical skills to the game, both in a professional environment as well as on an ever increasing number of amateur blogs.
“This has spawned a number of analytical conferences and events, many of which are very high profile and attract some excellent speakers. However, for completely understandable reasons, high-profile conferences with large media attendances are not the best forums to get to the nitty-gritty of what work is actually being carried out. There is a lot of talk around analytics, but not any discussion about how it is being used within professional football. Analytics in sport is still at such an infant stage, we felt it required an in-depth, complex, open conversation to progress.”
All of the above still holds true to some extent, but with a slight shift in emphasis. The proliferation of ‘Analytics’ as a buzzword has meant that no longer is it a challenge to convince people in football that this is a concept worth thinking about; instead the goal is to encourage clubs across the world to harness its use correctly, by helping them understand what their analysis can’t tell them while providing greater focus on what it can, and to give ever greater context to their work.
Our hope is that the OptaPro Analytics Forum can continue to play a key role in this. By providing an open, appreciative environment for practical, applied presentations from some of the leading thinkers in the analytical sphere, and an opportunity for discussion between club analysts and influential contributors to blogs and academic journals, we hope stakeholders from across the entire spectrum can benefit from attending.
Over the coming days and weeks we will be releasing details about how you can get the opportunity to present to our invite-only audience at the 2015 Forum, the industry-leading team of judges that will be reviewing the submissions, and the venue and date for an event that we hope will be even more popular than last time.
Read a review of the last event
Read the blogs that accompanied some of the presentations
Make sure you follow @OptaPro for all of the latest updates, but if you have any specific questions, feel free to email firstname.lastname@example.org