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How Location Technology Helps Real Madrid Improve Team Performance

Real-time GPS wearables are used to track and analyze the movements of each player during training, which helps in enhancing on-field performance.

Image credit: Real Madrid

Spanish football giant Real Madrid is one of the richest and most popular football clubs in the world. The Club boasts a record 13 European Cups and 33 titles in the Spanish Football League, making it the most successful Club in Europe. Since 2016, the Club has transformed itself through the use of data and digital technology to streamline its operations, performance, fitness, and relationships with 500 million global fans

Real-time GPS wearables

Every Real Madrid player wears a GPS device, embedded in his training kit, during training sessions. The device records the player’s heart rate, speed, running distance, routes, and acceleration. Having such data helps to quantify and control a player’s training load better, reducing the chances of injuries.

Ten minutes after a training session ends, data from the GPS devices is uploaded onto a shared information system for the coach to access and analyze. On top of the physical information about all players, the shared system also contains other data, such as, each player’s physiotherapy treatments, oral supplements, and podiatrist data.

The entire data is analyzed to draw conclusions on a player’s form, which then determines the player’s role in upcoming matches.

Even during the recent lockdown period imposed due to COVID-19, all Real Madrid players were given specific at-home training schedules, customized to each individual. The players were required to wear the GPS devices so that data on their movements and workouts was made available to the coaching staff in real time.

Analyzing match data to empower peak performance

The shared information system is also accessed by the team’s medical professionals, including doctors, physical therapists, and nutritionists. By analyzing match data in real-time, the medical team can predict the health conditions of every player, even before the player notices any changes. The data is used to guide training regimens and help players maintain their fitness throughout the season.

In order to optimize fitness and performance, Real Madrid podiatrists use innovative technologies such as 4D scanning and Artificial Intelligence (AI) to design durable shin pads, insoles and protective masks that can protect the players during a match.

Real Madrid also hires a dedicated video team to conduct ‘rival analysis’ to prepare them for upcoming matches. The video team provides information on a rival’s strengths and weaknesses so that the coaching team can plan the best tactical formation for the game.

Location-based fan engagement platform

Out of Real Madrid’s 500 million fan base, only three percent of its fans are based in Spain. In order to bring the stadium closer to its global fans, the Club has launched a cloud-based global digital sports platform that allows it to engage one-on-one with fans, create targeted promotional campaigns, and use data to track and analyze fan behavior.

The platform-as-a-service solution, developed using Microsoft Azure and Office 365 platform, captures and stores every interaction with a fan, including mobile check-ins at the Club’s stadium, online fan profile updates on the Club’s official website, and online merchandise purchases.

The Club’s mobile app is directly connected to the fan engagement platform. In this way, the Club can offer location-based services to fans. For example, when fans use the app to check-in at the stadium for a live match, the fan engagement platform sends a thank you message, welcoming the fan to the live match and automatically generating a personal QR code for a loyalty in-stadium offer.

Image credit: Real Madrid

Targeted marketing campaigns

The digital platform records all information related to fan behavior and activity ─ such as, winning an external challenge, checking in at a specific place, or updating a profile. From its telemetry information, the Club can see how users interact with the app, including how they open the app, if they click on advertisements proposed by the app, or use third-party applications integrated in the app to access specific areas.

The platform also allows fans to register on its website and the mobile app using social media accounts. By analyzing fans’ social media activities, the Club can capture more information on who the fans are, where they are located, and their preferences (such as their favorite player, etc.). Using this information, the Club’s marketers can offer more targeted, customized marketing campaigns that could ultimately help the Club increase revenues.

It’s been reported that Real Madrid has seen a 30 percent digital revenue growth during the 2019 fiscal, primarily boosted by the digital platform.

Location Technology and Data Science in Football

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