LIGEN.analytics and Track160 cooperate with BSC Young Boys
LIGEN.analytics and Track160 start cooperation at Swiss champions BSC Young Boys in the field of data collection through optical tracking.
Sports technology partnership between LIGEN.analytics, BSC Young Boys and Track160
The alliance between LIGEN.analytics and the Israeli company Track160, which was launched in 2020, continues to bear fruit: since the start of the 2021/22 season, the two have engaged in a sports technology cooperation with Swiss champions BSC Young Boys. As part of this cooperation, data is collected from all home matches of the 1st team (Super League), Under-21’s (Promotion League/3rd League) and the Under-18 youth league group at the Wankdorf stadium in Bern. The system was used for the first time in a friendly match against SC Kriens in June.
Manuel Affolter, match analyst at BSC Young Boys, says: “The fact that we were able to launch the sports technology partnership with LIGEN.analytics and Track160 is a real enrichment for us. I see a great advantage here, not only for BSC Young Boys, but also for Swiss football in general, which could benefit from such a solution. In my view, Track160 is attractive not only for the top leagues, but also for amateur and youth football. The financially manageable solutions offer, for example, the option of collecting data that is comparable within clubs, which in turn benefits them in training. The past matches have already provided interesting insights, and I am excited and looking forward to the coming months not only with matches of our first team but also with the data sets of our U21 and U18 teams!”
Stephan Degen, Tracking & Data Specialist at LIGEN.analytics, is delighted about the cooperation: “The fact that we were able to get Young Boys, the old and new champions of the Swiss Super League, on board for this idea and that we were able to set up this project together in a very short time is simply great. Without the active support of BSC as well as the hard work on our side, this would not have been possible – many thanks go to everyone involved.”
Flexible software is independent of camera system
Data is collected by the FIFA-certified system, which captures the player, ball and referee from a single angle without the use of sensors on the body or in the ball.
The flexibility of the system is obvious: an existing camera system can, under certain conditions, be used for data collection. The installation of additional camera equipment is not mandatory. For clubs, this eliminates any installation costs. The time required to integrate a new system is reduced to a minimum. If no camera system is available or the technology is not yet compatible with an existing system, Track160 ensures data collection on the one hand with a portable system and on the other hand with its own permanently installed camera.
Stephan Degen says: “Especially for clubs that already have a high-quality and comprehensive system installed, this solution definitely offers new and interesting possibilities. The door to collecting good-quality, high-value X/Y position data at 25 fps is wide open with this.”
Tracking without sensors
The video image is recorded by cameras connected side by side and the Track160 software then merges these into a tactical feed. The game action is accompanied by automatic panning and zooming technology based on DFL standards.
Track160’s patented technology relies on advanced artificial intelligence techniques and deep learning algorithms to identify both the ball and players on the pitch. It provides fully-automated positional data, usually without the use of operators. A digital fingerprint of each player is created during the evaluation process. The resulting creation of a 14-point body skeleton per player enables, for example, torso alignment or 3D player orientation. Through skeletal analysis, the technology is able to recognise the shape of the human physique as well as the character of typical football movements. “In the discussions with clubs, the technology definitely triggered enthusiasm and wonder. In fact, the technological aspect is an essential building block, because generating this data quality from a vantage point with a comparably low financial outlay deserves recognition,” says Timo Luippold, CEO of LIGEN.
Manuel Affolter: “The fact that we are now using Track160’s technology opens up further possibilities for us in the area of data analysis. Generating data independently of sensors on the player or ball opens new doors for us in the coaching team: the visualisation in Coach160 with a 2D pitch and the linking of data and video image is a clear improvement. The option of obtaining high-quality data through optical tracking and exporting it creates added value for us in that we can incorporate the positional data into our evaluations in a targeted manner.”
The web-based tool Coach160 is made available to the club’s analysts for the evaluation and visualisation of the data. The tool provides the tactical feed, comprehensive statistics and access to all matches evaluated by the club, as well as a 2D visualisation of the match action.
Cooperation between LIGEN.analytics and Track160 since 2018
LIGEN.analytics and Track160 already demonstrated initial synergies in 2018. They recognised an increased need from associations and clubs for data collection. While Track160 is very strong in the technological area of data collection, LIGEN.analytics primarily provides consulting in the area of contextual match analysis. Together, the two providers offer a comprehensive package.
Eyal Ben Ari, CEO of Track160, says: “BSC Young Boys is a great club that has consistently won the championship over the past four years and reached the last 16 of the Europa League last year. This season they are one of the 32 clubs competing in the Champions League group stage. The fact that the commitment of our partner LIGEN.analytics is paying off in this way makes me very happy and is greatly appreciated on our part. We at Track160 are excited about the next steps and are confident that the cooperation in this form will prove of great benefit to us.”