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How Analytics And Digital Are Powering Man City’s Quest For Success

Steve McCaskill is editor of TechWeekEurope and ChannelBiz. He joined as a reporter in 2011 and covers all areas of IT, with a particular interest in telecommunications, mobile and networking, along with sports technology.

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Manchester City is using technology on and off the pitch as it looks to build its fanbase and win trophies

Ever since the club was taken over in 2008 by the investment arm of the Abu Dhabi government, Manchester City have transformed from one of England’s most storied sleeping giants into a European powerhouse. 

The club was dwarfed by near neighbours Manchester United and aside from a period in the late 1960s, City never threatened to win honours. Now the club has won two Premier League titles and an FA Cup, with European success a distinct possibility. 

These achievements have been made possible with significant investments in players, staff and facilities. City have one of football’s most coveted managers in Pep Guardiola and a world class squad. A new training campus has been built around the Etihad Stadium and significant resources have been allocated to youth and women’s teams. 

And City are now part of the City Football Group (CFG), a network comprising New York City FC in the US, Melbourne City in Australia and Yokohama F. Marinos in Japan. 

But the quest for success has seen it turn to technology – both on and off the pitch. 

Man City Stadium

From boardroom to pitch 


Last year, CFG partnered with SAP
to use the German firm’s cloud and analytics technology across its backroom operations and on-field activities. 

SAP technology is used in every day management of the clubs, such as finance, HR and marketing, using analytics to improve processes and communication tools to convey concepts and data across all four territories. 

“CFG is something new, something that hasn’t been done before,” said CFG CEO Ferran Soriano at the time. “For the first time, a group has managed four football clubs in four continents. We are the only football organisation that is truly global. 

“To manage this we obviously need technology. The list of things we will do together is almost endless.” 
 
Analytics and the new SAP Sports One for Soccer will be used to manage the team, players and create gameplans for opponents. 
 SAP Manchester City (1)
“Technology will allow us to play better football,” continued Soriano, noting that resistance from managers and coaches had been eroded when empirical evidence could be provided. “That has been the theory for many years, but now I’m seeing it on the pitch. 

The SAP platform can be viewed on almost any device and includes components for team management, training, player fitness and performance analysis. This information can be used to customise training, create tactics and player development. 

Post-match analysis is strengthened by integration with Opta and Prozone data, with the possibility of more databases being supported in the future. 

Read more about data-driven recruitment on page 2…