Demonstrating the Power of Data Analysis in Sport: The Case of Opta

A seminar as part of the Sport Business Centre Seminar Series

Given by: Simon Banoub, Director of Marketing, Opta; Stefano Faccendini, Managing Director, Opta Italy; Simon Farrant, Marketing Coordinator, OptaPro

Lankaster Lecture Theatre (University College London campus)
Medawar Building
Malet Place (off Torrington Place)
London WC1
Tuesday 14th May 2013 at 6pm

For directions click here

This event will operate under “Chatham House Rules” – no external reporting without the permission of the speakers


The last decade has seen an explosion in interest across the sport sector in the application of sophisticated data analysis techniques to evaluate sporting performance in a phenomenon first made famous by Michael Lewis’ book Moneyball (2003). In Moneyball Lewis told the story of how the application of such techniques by Oakland Athletics baseball general manager Billy Beane allowed the team to perform much more successfully than might have anticipated at face value given its comparatively weak financial resources (a proxy for labour purchasing power). The extent to which the phenomenon captured the imagination of the sports’ world can be seen by the fact that the book was later made into a movie with Brad Pitt in the Beane role.

Opta is the world’s leading sports data company. In this seminar Opta’s Stefano Faccendini, Simon Banoub, and Simon Farrant first explain the genesis of the sport analytics phenomenon, outlining why it has become such an influential tool. They will then go on to explain how Opta’s data and content is used by the world’s leading broadcasters, sponsors, media companies and professional teams to evaluate and improve performance using a series of case-studies to illustrate how these processes work in practice. In particular they will explain how the role of data analyst at a professional football club in analysing team performance, making reference to the partnership between Opta and Manchester City.



As it is anticipated that demand for attendance at this event will be very high please e-mail the following e-mail address to confirm your place at the event – RSVP to

Company History

Opta, as a brand, first appeared in 1996, in an association with the Premier League through the launch of a ranking system, The Opta Index, that was seen on Sky Sports Monday Night Football. The company took on its current form when Opta was purchased from BSkyB in 2002 by Sportingstatz. Since then the company has steadily expanded. In 2006 the current data collection methodology for football was adopted incorporating x/y co-ordinates and time coding with live collection by two people plus a checker. In 2010 Opta opened its Leeds office as a centre for rugby data collection, and in 2011 opened offices in New York to service Major League Soccer (MLS) and in Sydney to provide rugby-related services. In 2012 it was appointed by the ECB as the official data provider to English cricket. The company now provides a full service data service across a range of the world’s leading sports.


Simon Banoub

Simon Banoub is the Director of Marketing for Opta. He has been working for Opta since 2009 having previously spent four years in senior marketing roles for PA Sport, the sports data division of The Press Association.  Early career roles were spent in educational marketing at both universities in Leeds.

Simon has a BA (Hons) in Marketing, a CIM Professional Postgraduate Diploma in Marketing, and an IDM Postgraduate Diploma in Digital Marketing.  He is a Twitter obsessive and Facebook sceptic.

He is a perennially depressed fan of Middlesbrough FC and also regularly watches Farsley AFC of the Evo-Stik Northern Premier League.

Stefano Faccendini

Stefano Faccendini is managing director of Opta Italy.

Having studied Economics his background had nothing to do with the job he applied for and he got it because he is a football fan more than anything else and that is exactly why he loves Opta so much.

Stefano is a Roma fan but also has a deep love for English football and would rather watch Torquay v Wycombe than the Milan or Madrid derby. His devotion to the FA Cup is worrying – he attends a game in every round – and he is a keen admirer of Supporters Direct’s activities especially in the UK, believing the fans should have a meaningful say in the future of football.

Simon Farrant

Simon Farrant is the Marketing Coordinator for OptaPro, the division of Opta that works directly within the world of professional sport as well as highlighting the potential that utilising Opta data can have in advanced sports analytics.

He has been at Opta for just over a year, having previously worked at Championship Rugby Union side London Scottish FC and the sports marketing and events agency 100AND10%.

He achieved a duel MSc in International Sports Management from the State University of New York, Cortland and London Metropolitan University, and a BA (Hons) in European Politics and Law from the University of Leeds. One of these qualifications has proved to be considerably more useful than the other.

Simon plays cricket (Bowler, RFM) at a poor-to-middling standard in the Thames Valley League in Surrey, and is a genuinely impartial football supporter following Scarborough FC’s untimely demise in 2007. He was also a member of the youngest ever team to win on the BBC’s Eggheads quiz programme after beating CJ in the sport round, a level of achievement that he recognises will be a struggle to ever replicate.

Contact details

For further details on this seminar series contact:

Sean Hamil
Department of Management
Birkbeck College
Malet Street

Tel: 020-7631 6763

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