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Amazon uses machine learning to analyse NFL stats

Steve Rogerson
December 7, 2017
 
The US National Football League (NFL) is using Amazon Web Services (AWS) machine learning and data analytics services to boost the accuracy, speed and insights provided by its player-tracking system.
 
The NFL aims to develop new ways of visualising the action on the field, uncovering deeper insights into the action on the field, and expanding the fan experience by offering a broader range of statistics. In addition, AWS will become an official technology provider of the NFL.
 
Through the use of RFID tags in player equipment and the football, the Next Gen Stats system captures real-time location, speed and acceleration data. The data are analysed on AWS and used to contextualise movement on the field for fans to see on NFL Media properties, game broadcasts, third-party digital platforms and in-venue displays.
 
"The NFL continues to look at technology to grow the sport of football to the millions of fans who engage with us throughout the year," said Matt Swensson, vice president at the NFL. “Next Gen Stats is already revolutionising the game of football by exposing a variety of advanced statistics that enhance our broadcasts and other operations. By powering Next Gen Stats with AWS, we'll be able to kick off our 2018 season with even more impactful and meaningful content, uncovering deeper insights into the game of football than we've ever done before. We chose AWS because of its combination of advanced cloud offering, powerful machine learning capabilities and experience operating at the scale we need."
 
The data are also leveraged by NFL clubs post game as part of their football operations on a weekly basis. The system creates various unique player and team stats for every game such as a receiver's ability to get open and an offensive line's ability to protect the quarterback. By leveraging AWS's cloud-based machine learning capabilities, the NFL is looking to take its game-day stats to the next level so fans and NFL clubs can benefit from deeper insights.
 
"With Amazon's 20 years of experience using machine learning to delight customers, along with AWS's broad analytics and machine learning capabilities, we continue to be the best choice for companies who want to use machine learning to solve meaningful customer problems," said Mike Clayville, vice president at AWS. "The NFL will be able to create new features and capabilities for Next Gen Stats using AWS machine learning. We're excited to help the NFL transform their customers' experiences and provide the most flexible and powerful tools for machine learning as together we advance Next Gen Stats.