Bundesliga signs up Amazon Web Services for real-time statistics

Eintracht Frankfurt face TSG 1899 Hoffenheim at Commerzbank Arena (Photo by Simon Hofmann/Getty Images for Kaspersky Lab)

Germany’s Bundesliga has become the world’s first football league to work with Amazon Web Services, the cloud computing subsidiary of the retail giant becoming increasingly involved in sports broadcasting and the provision of technology services.

The deal affords AWS, which already works with the likes of the NFL and Formula 1, the title of the Bundesliga’s official technology provider as it provides its machine learning and analytics to develop a “next generation football viewing experience”.

In providing in-depth insight into every broadcast of Bundesliga matches, AWS has been appointed to work with the German Football League (DFL) in the following ways:

  • Provide advanced real-time statistics for viewers during live coverage and highlights clips from every top-tier Bundesliga and 2. Bundesliga match
  • Serve personalised content on digital platforms for Bundesliga fans
  • Use the AWS cloud infrastructure, advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies to “deliver the right information to all fans anytime, anywhere and on any device”

The partnership will take effect when the league returns from its winter break on January 17 as the Bundesliga ‘powered by AWS’ statistics start to be incorporated into the multi-platform broadcast coverage.

The tie-up fits in with the DFL’s self-stated aim to become the most innovative football league in the world.

The DFL said that, by using Amazon SageMaker, a “fully-managed service to build, train, and deploy machine learning models”, the Bundesliga will “soon be able to offer fans real-time predictions on when a goal is likely to be scored (Expected Goals), identify potential goal-scoring opportunities and highlight how teams are positioning and controlling play, based on live data streams and historical data from over 10,000 Bundesliga games”.

Machine learning services such as Amazon Personalize, which creates real-time and individualised recommendations, will be used to offer fans personalised game footage, marketing promotions and search results based on their favourite teams, players or fixtures.

Christian Seifert, the DFL chief executive, said: “Innovation means challenging the status quo. Working closely with AWS as one of the most innovative technology companies in the world significantly enhances the investment we’ve made in innovation over the past two decades, all of which contributes to us being able to deliver a world-class football experience for our fans.”

Asked how AWS could look to its work with other leading sports rights-holders as it rolls out the Bundesliga offering, Klaus Bürg, AWS managing director in Germany, Austria and Switzerland, told SportBusiness: “I would not say that we will replicate because the sports are so different. What’s typically happening is there is a huge amount of data that the teams [or leagues] have challenges to drive value out of.

“If you think about Formula 1, we have terabytes of data which can give a huge value to fans and the rights-holder itself. In that sense it [the Bundesliga partnership] is pretty similar to what we have done for Formula 1, NFL, MLB or Six Nations.

“It’s around building a statistics platform which enables real-time processing by applying machine learning and analytics, but also giving a much better experience about what’s happening on the field on mobile, online streaming and television.

“So there is no replication but the concepts are similar.”

AWS already works with some German Bundesliga clubs on in-stadium spectator experiences and providing fan-focused mobile apps.

Bürg also said that the tie-up could provide a foundation for AWS to work with DFL in other areas.

He said: “There are many things that we can do working together based on the scale and the reach AWS can provide. We should see that there will be other things coming out of this collaboration which we can look forward to in the next couple of months and years.”

The appointment of AWS to the Bundesliga technology role comes with Amazon expected to be one of the media companies looking closely at the domestic Bundesliga broadcast rights invitation to tender, which is expected to be issued early this year.

Amazon recently made its first sports media rights move in Germany by acquiring a package of exclusive Uefa Champions League rights for the 2021-22 to 2023-24 cycle.