The creation of a Business Intelligence & Analytics department is an exciting development for LaLiga and the director of this new section, José Carlos Franco (Badajoz, 1973), discussed his plans in an interview. He explained how data can help to improve the fan experience, while also assisting the growth of LaLiga, of the clubs and of the business of football in general.
LaLiga have created a department of Business Intelligence & Analytics. How will this area, which you are in charge of, help the growth of the league?
“If we analyse the most successful companies, such as Amazon, Google, Apple, Facebook and Netflix, we see that they all base their business models on data. The day-to-day decision-making is determined by the knowledge they possess regarding their clients’ behaviour and interests. LaLiga’s objective is for our day-to-day decision-making to be supported by knowledge of the competition, the supporters and the clubs, all of which can come from data.”
This section was only introduced two months ago. What are the first steps?
“There are four main action points.
What objectives do you have for next year?
“We want to advance the action points in order to have a first model and operating platform over the coming year, one which can be used in concrete projects related to the clubs, the audio-visual area, the sponsors, the digital activities and so on.”
From the LaLiga data you’ve already started to look at, what has been the most eye-catching aspect of it all so far?
“The richness of the data, its variety and the potential to combine it and to link it with information from other fields.”
We know that big data is starting to change football when it comes to signing players, given how much data is produced during matches. In your case, what kinds of data points will you be collecting?
“There are two major kinds of data for LaLiga. One part is related to the competition, such as data on teams, players and matches. The other is concerned with supporters and season ticket holders, in terms of who they are, their behaviour and what their interests are.”
What kinds of things can you take away from this data?
“You can take away information and knowledge that allows you to support the day-to-day decisions of the organisation. Knowing who is consuming football and how they are doing so means that we can better negotiate with the operators and help clubs to create better campaigns for the sale of season tickets and matchday tickets. We can learn how and why channels carry out campaigns with their sponsors and their brands, we can learn what kind of content generates the most engagement with fans, we can learn how to improve the competition and we can improve the technical analytics tools for matches and for players.”
It seems that getting to know the fans in order to give them what they want is one of the best aspects of this. How can LaLiga make the most of this?
“It’s simple. Understanding of the fans allows for greater engagement and interest in LaLiga, which will help to improve the league’s value. In order to achieve this, there’s a need to work together and to coordinate between various fields and their data.”
Microsoft Project is an important part of the company. How can you make the most of this technology?
“The technology platform is one of the main action points where this has to help. It will be a massive boost to be able to count on the technological ability and knowledge of a partner as important as Microsoft. In terms of the digital platform project, we should be able to get the most out of all of the functions of the data platform, which should be a major support.”
How can the clubs use your department to improve their way of working or to learn new methods?
“At LaLiga, there are already relevant collaborations with clubs in terms of websites, digital marketing, ticketing and engagement with season ticket holders. Through the data that we’ll be obtaining with respect to each of the above areas, we will improve the results and we’ll discover new ways to bring value. Furthermore, we can help the clubs themselves to improve their knowledge and ability by training them on how to use certain tools.”
Do you know if other leagues such as the Premier League, the Bundesliga or the NBA have employees in roles such as yours?
“Leagues and clubs are becoming more and more aware of the importance of this discipline for their organisations, so they are creating teams that are specialised in data. It’s true that other sports and other countries have been working on this for some time, but the others are quickly becoming involved too.”