NEWS: OptaPro launches the 2019 OptaPro Analytics Forum

Article by Ryan Bahia

OptaPro today launches its call for proposals to present at the 2019 OptaPro Analytics Forum, which takes place on Wednesday 6th February in central London.

Heading into its sixth year, the OptaPro Forum has become one the leading global football analytics conferences, attracting over 50 clubs from around the world. The event comprises presentations that apply analytics to answer football questions covering both performance analysis and recruitment.

OptaPro has gone through significant change since February’s 2018 Forum. Having merged with Scout7, OptaPro has evolved in a holistic manner, and is now working with clubs at boardroom level through to regional scouts.

This shift perhaps mirrors the OptaPro Forum’s evolution. For some time, analytics has no longer been a sideshow to existing analysis and recruitment workflows, but a key cog in the process, embedded within the wider operation alongside video work, for example, rather than sitting in isolation.

About the Forum

The Forum remains at the forefront of football analytics – showcasing new ways to answer football questions alongside sharing new ideas and concepts in areas that haven’t previously been explored.

Three At The Back, the football analytics podcast from OptaPro, interviews 2018 Forum guest speakers Luke Bornn and Devin Pleuler


The debate has moved on – and it did some time ago – revolving around the impact and influence of this style of analysis. However, during a congested season that often includes two games in a week, the opportunity to explore innovative ideas and tackle new challenges that can be integrated within an existing workflow process can be limited if at all possible.

For professional clubs, the OptaPro Analytics Forum is a unique opportunity move away from the day-to-day, and learn from and connect with some of the some of the sharpest, most innovative analytical thinkers within this wider community.

For those operating outside of the club space, the OptaPro Forum presents a unique platform to engage directly with practitioners, understand the key questions that need addressing and present new ideas and analysis directly to this group

Although the Forum is an invitation-only event, anybody can submit a proposal to present. The OptaPro Analytics Forum encourages proposals from people with a range of backgrounds as this can often bring a fresh perspective that has not previously been considered. In previous years, presenter backgrounds have included academia, marketing, data science, technology as well as students.

The event remains a unique opportunity for the wider football analytics industry, offering a place to share new ideas and best practice and discuss analytical frameworks that can be implemented within a football club.

Analyst mentors

While the Forum represents an excellent opportunity to present directly to football clubs, it is also acknowledged that a body of work on this scale should not happen in isolation. To understand, comprehend and appreciate the nuances within a club can be challenging.

Presenters will continue to have the opportunity to work closely with club analysts on their presentation. While it is often the presenter who is more advanced in their work with data, the club analysts will act as mentors, providing valuable feedback on work and presentations to ensure it remains tailored for a football audience


In this industry, innovation has become something of a buzzword and a cliché, but there is rationale behind its frequent use. Demand is rife to explore better, more efficient ways to analyse the game and reduce risk in the transfer market.

One area in which we have started to truly see innovation has centred on the integration of performance and physical data, creating tactically relevant analysis deriving from these merged datasets.

At the 2019 OptaPro Analytics Forum, participants will have access to ChryonHego tracking data (TRACAB) from LaLiga for the first time. Through Perform Group’s official partnership with LaLiga Data Centre, this data has been made available to help further progress research in this field.

Access to data

Alongside this new opportunity to work with tracking data, the Forum offers a chance to work with detailed Opta data. At the 2019 Forum, participants will be able to access:

– F24 – our most detailed data feed – capturing every touch of every player on the pitch
– Metrics deriving from the Opta possessions and sequences framework
– Expected goal and expected assist outputs
– Shot clarity and shot pressure – additional Opta qualifiers introduced last season

This data can be provided in XML or JSON format.

To request a one-match F24 sample, please contact pro@optasports.com

How to submit a proposal

There will be two submission categories for the 2019 event.

– Open call: Opta data

– Open call: Opta data plus official LaLiga tracking data

Watch and read previous presentations from the OptaPro Analytics Forum

Application details

In submitting a proposal, you will need to provide the following information. Proposals should be a maximum of two A4 sides and sent in a Word file.

Judges will evaluate proposals against the following criteria: innovation, relevance, application and method.

In your submission, it is essential that you explain how your analysis can influence the game from a tactical perspective, impact performance or enhance a club’s recruitment strategy.

1. Title
2. Aims of this study
3. Proposed area of study
4. Proposed method
5. Name(s)
6. I have/have not worked with Opta data before (select as appropriate)
7. Contact details including location*

All proposals should be submitted to ‘pro@optasports.com’ using the subject: Analytics Forum 2019 proposal.

Participants can submit more than one proposal.

The deadline for submissions is Monday 15th October.

*OptaPro will have a small travel budget available to support speakers for the 2019 OptaPro Analytics Forum. This will be discussed further with successful applicants.

Reviewing the proposals

All proposals are anonymously judged by an expert panel who have been chosen due to their experience, knowledge and expertise in the application of football analytics.

The judges

– Dr Ian Graham, Head of Research, Liverpool FC
– Brian Prestidge, Head of Data Insights, City Football Group
– Devin Pleuler, Analytics Manager, Toronto FC
– Johannes Harkins, Data Scientist, OptaPro
– George Syrianos, Head of Data Analytics, VfB Stuttgart

The panel review proposals based on innovation, application, feasibility and method.

If you have any further questions regarding the OptaPro Analytics Forum, please contact: pro@optasports.com

Back to analysis