Winning with data: How football gets a competitive edge in the boardroom & on the field

With £180m spent in the 2022 Premier League January transfer window alone, the sums involved in modern football are astronomical, and the margin for error is acute. If a board makes the wrong decision, it could have a long-lasting impact on the club’s finances and performance. The process is further complicated due to various clauses and bonuses involved. Across any squad, there will be multiple types of performance-related incentives, agent fees, and signing on bonuses that need to be accounted for.    

The challenge  

With the stakes so high, any modern football club needs to model the impacts of different player performance scenarios could have on the overall budget. The challenge is that there is no single source of truth to access this data, let alone process the wide variety of potential scenarios. This makes the modelling process extremely time-consuming and resource-heavy, and herein lies the fine line between success and failure.   

To solve this challenge, TEC: Agency was appointed to build an intelligence platform for a leading Premier League Club. The goal was to create a bespoke software solution that gives an overview of all player-related financial activity and enables them to efficiently manage all aspects of player’s contracts, including the myriad of performance-related clauses. Another key feature focussed on player scouting and acquisition, to model scenarios around financial profiles and the potential impact on the overall wage bill.  

Creating value by modelling the economic impact of contracts   

There is more to the solution than merely digitizing player contracts. To add value and provide a competitive edge the solution proactively understands the potential financial impact of individual contract conditions. For instance, a player’s bonus could change depending on the duration they spent on the field in a game, for example, 30 or 90 minutes. What is the impact if this is a Premiership or a Champions League match? 

Our analysis of operational and financial processes revealed that the best solution was to build a live rules engine that continually evaluates contract bonus targets against player match statistics. The engine was designed to process more than 30 types of contract clauses along with fixture data other financial data resources and by connecting to the wider budgeting module. We were able to build a platform that demonstrates the ability to forecast the complete economic impact of a player’s transfer or contract renewal.  

The platform was also built to contain a simulation area that encapsulated the previously mentioned modules so that the player’s or club’s achievements could be checked. Also, this allowed boardroom people to test multiple scenarios, such as the financial impact of a future transfer or loan deal.  

The final result       

The platform empowered the Premier League club to quickly make financial predictions and decisions based on contract conditions and performance outcomes.  The data also allows them to make better-informed decisions about scouting and managing transfer-related costs like taxes and agent’s fees. It also improved management efficiency by eliminating the manual and time-consuming tasks of checking each contract individually. The intelligence platform is so successful it is now used by over 40 football clubs worldwide.   

If you want to find out more, please contact Kevin Bain.