North American Soccer League Announces Partnership With Opta

Opta to provide in-depth statistical data for use across NASL’s digital platforms
NASL Staff | Feb 23, 2016

The North American Soccer League has teamed up with Opta, the world's leading provider of live, detailed sports data, for a three-year partnership that will bring fans, media, and the rest of the soccer community closer to the statistical side of the league than ever before.

Opta will manage and deliver statistical analysis for all of the NASL’s league, cup, and postseason matches, and that data will be reflected through the company’s full range of in-depth widgets on all league and club websites. Live match centers and individual and team analysis will track all of the usual statistical categories, as well as a multitude of ultra-specific, in-depth data points that will give followers of the league a perspective that they haven’t had before.

"Our supporters rely heavily on digital and social media outlets to follow their favorite club, and this new partnership with Opta is a major step towards delivering a better experience to everyone that follows the league,” NASL Commissioner Bill Peterson said. “We're excited to see all of the new improvements in place, and we anticipate a great response from the supporters and the media."

The partnership will feature a number of elements that go beyond web integration, including press box statistics distribution, social media interaction, and media outlet integration. Additionally, each year, Opta will analyze and release data from five matches that took place in the legendary era of the NASL – a time period which featured the likes of Pele, George Best, and Johan Cruyff.

"The legendary era of NASL is one of the greatest times in soccer history,” Peterson said. “Those great players and supporters are a big reason why the game is growing like it is today. We are always striving to protect their legacy and their place in history, so it’s great to have something like this to keep telling their amazing story."

Based in London, but operating stateside out of New York City, Opta already has a number of major data partnerships within the sport, including the Barclays Premier League, Football League Championship, Bundesliga, Major League Soccer, and A-League. The company was acquired by leading digital sports content and media group Perform in 2013.

“We are delighted to agree to a partnership with the NASL, which will increase our North American soccer coverage,” said Angus McNab, Perform VP Content, North America. “The North American soccer market is one of the most exciting on the planet, and we’re thrilled to add the NASL to our portfolio. Opta has been at the forefront of data-driven analysis in soccer, and we look forward to working with Commissioner Peterson and his team to do this for many years to come.”    

McNab went on to add: “The additional analysis of five legendary NASL games each season is really exciting, and I think that it will be a great celebration of the league’s rich heritage. Overall, this partnership is great news for the fans, who surely will have a lot of fun exploring the new NASL match centers, powered by Opta’s widget technology.” 

The new statistical changes to the league’s websites will go live in the weeks leading up to the season. The content below, which comes straight from Opta’s analysis of last year’s NASL Final between the New York Cosmos and Ottawa Fury FC, is a preview of the type of data that fans and media can come to expect moving forward.

  • There were a total of 802 passes in The Championship Final – 451 for the Cosmos and 351 for Fury FC. New York finished with a 76% pass completion rate, while Ottawa managed to be accurate with 64% of its passes.
  • Of New York’s passes, 30% were attempted in the attacking third of the pitch. They were successful on 65% of those, while Ottawa completed 45% of its final third passes.
  • The Cosmos attempted 10 total shots - 80% of which came from inside the box – and scored on three of them. In fact, all five goals scored between the two sides came from within the box.
  • There were a total of 111 duels contested in The Championship Final – 48 in the air and 63 on the ground. Ottawa came away winning 60% of the aerial duels, while New York had a slight edge on the ground, winning 51% of the challenges.
  • Spanish legend Raúl attempted the most passes of all players in the final third of the pitch (19), and was unsuccessful on only three of them.
  • Cosmos hat-trick hero Gastón Cellerino attempted seven total shots, which represented 70% of his team’s total. Of those, he managed to be on target with four, including his three goals.
  • Fury FC’s Colin Falvey led all players with nine total clearances, while the Cosmos’ Rovérsio led his team with both seven clearances and 10 interceptions.

The 2016 NASL Spring Season kicks off on Saturday, April 2, in Carolina, Fort Lauderdale, Oklahoma City, and Tampa Bay. 

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