In the news

MATCHSTATS POWERED BY AWS:

How Technology is Changing Our Experience of Rugby

Former England captain Will Carling helps break down each of the new Matchstats powered by AWS in a series of six blogs during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship.

Matchstats powered by AWS: How Technology is Changing Our Experience of Rugby

Former England captain Will Carling helps break down each of the new Matchstats powered by AWS in a series of six blogs during the 2020 Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship.

Last year, for the very first time during the 2019 Guinness Six Nations Championship, fans had access to never-before-seen insights into the great game of rugby through new on-screen dynamic stats powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS). These stats provided fans with greater understanding into a range of key in-game events, including scrum analyses, play patterns, try origins, team trends, and more.

Back in my day, of course, it was very different. Completely different! The only stats we had were up on the scoreboard for everyone to see. How things have changed!

In 2000, the Rugby Football Union (RFU) introduced the Television Match Official (TMO). The TMO is someone who watches the match action, usually in a truck outside the ground. They watch multiple camera angles of an incident and pass on information to the match referee to help make more accurate decisions. Since this time, the TMO has become an integral part of matches and in 2015, Hawk-Eye’s enhanced video replay was introduced into rugby for the first time. Rugby continues to welcome the use of technology to positively evolve the game, and it has since permeated every aspect of the sport.

Player performance tracking, for example, has been adopted to help improve training and match day execution. This has delivered a deeper understanding of players’ fitness and health, faster and more powerful players, and, ultimately, a more exciting and accurate sport. I am proud to be part of a sport with an open mind to technology, and a sport that embraces innovation for the benefit of not only the players, but the fans too.

What the sport has achieved to date is good, but to be honest, we’re only scratching the surface of what more advanced technologies like data analytics and machine learning can do for our beloved sport – and especially for rugby fans. This year, the Guinness Six Nations Championship is taking big strides to help showcase some of these advanced technologies, working with AWS to launch five new on-screen dynamic statistics that will offer even deeper insights, to allow fans to better understand the action, than before.

20/20 Vision for This Year’s Championship

These five new stats will join the seven launched during the 2019 Championship and will let us accurately, and in real-time, track crucial components of the game, such as placekicking, tackles, and the always crucial ruck plays.

The five new stats are:
  • Kick Predictor – Showing the probability of a kicker successfully scoring a penalty kick or try conversion
  • Visits to the 22 - This stat will highlight the number of occasions a team has entered the opposition’s 22-metre area and how many points they have scored with the entries
  • Ruck and Turnover Locations – A heat map of the pitch will highlight the action areas of each team
  • Dominant Tackles – This will show the defensive strength and structure of the teams
  • Power Game – This will show where a team is dominant, where a team is lacking, and potentially where the match is being won or lost
BLOG_01-image-02

These stats will make the sport more accessible to all fans, particularly those who are new to the game, and younger fans, while giving greater depth of understanding to seasoned rugby fans.

These new advanced stats will also give broadcast commentators and pundits an easy and visual way to show and explain to fans the most critical moments in a game and where it was won and lost. While rugby appears to be a simple sport to play – you run, you pass the ball, and you tackle – it is in fact incredibly complex.

I think these stats are invaluable, because they will give fans insights into the habits, structures and strategies that create the building blocks for successful teams. And what’s really great about these stats is that they don’t impact on your viewing time or hold up the game. They add information and insight right there and in real-time, which is why I think fans will love them.

Each week, over the next five weeks, I’ll be taking a closer look at each of the new stats, and how they are used in the games in more detail so do check back to get my thoughts on the games and the insights I’ve gleaned from these news stats.

With every team brimming with talent and ferocity, I can’t wait to see the how the Championship unfolds. These new stats will give fresh insights and knowledge to fans and pundits alike as the greatest rugby competition in the world gets under way. There’s no question that, with these new statistics powered by AWS, rugby just got a whole lot more interesting and accessible for every fan.

Here’s to a really great Guinness Six Nations Championship.


This blog was first published on Broadcast Sport.

About Amazon Web Services

For 13 years, Amazon Web Services has been the world’s most comprehensive and broadly adopted cloud platform. AWS offers over 165 fully featured services for compute, storage, databases, networking, analytics, robotics, machine learning and artificial intelligence (AI), Internet of Things (IoT), mobile, security, hybrid, virtual and augmented reality (VR and AR), media, and application development, deployment, and management from 69 Availability Zones (AZs) within 22 geographic regions, with announced plans for 13 more Availability Zones and four more AWS Regions in Indonesia, Italy, South Africa, and Spain. Millions of customers—including the fastest-growing startups, largest enterprises, and leading government agencies—trust AWS to power their infrastructure, become more agile, and lower costs. To learn more about AWS, visit aws.amazon.com.

About Amazon

Amazon is guided by four principles: customer obsession rather than competitor focus, passion for invention, commitment to operational excellence, and long-term thinking. Customer reviews, 1-Click shopping, personalized recommendations, Prime, Fulfillment by Amazon, AWS, Kindle Direct Publishing, Kindle, Fire tablets, Fire TV, Amazon Echo, and Alexa are some of the products and services pioneered by Amazon. For more information, visit amazon.com/about and follow @AmazonNews.

About Guinness Six Nations Rugby Championship

The Six Nations Championship is an annual rugby union competition, held in February and March, between the teams of England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and Italy. This year the Championship celebrates its 20th Anniversary, after Italy joined what was then the Five Nations in 2000. Wales are the current Guinness Six Nations Champions, who won the 2019 Championship with a Grand Slam.

The Guinness Six Nations Championship is broadcast live on the BBC and ITV in the UK, on Virgin Media in Ireland, France 2 in France and DMAX in Italy while NBC in the USA will once again broadcast the Championship on their platforms. The Championship is also broadcast in 172 territories over six continents.

Over 1 million people attend the 15 games of the Championship annually, making it one of the best attended sport events in the world.

IN THE NEWS


ICON_Stadium

Sports organizations all over the world are changing the game with technology on AWS

See all sports >
IN THE NEWS


ICON_Stadium

Sports organizations all over the world are changing the game with technology on AWS

See all sports >
MORE STORIES

Six Nations Graphics
(Visits To 22) Explained

Will Carling dives into the new stat that highlights the number of occasions a team has entered the opposition’s 22 metre area and how many points they have scored with the entries.

Read more >

Big Hits,
Big Insights

Will Carling looks into the new stats to determine the defensive strength and structure of teams and map out locations and percentages of dominant tackles to analyse momentum in the gainline area.

Read more >

Drawing the Battle Lines
with Ruck Insights

Will Carling goes deeper into how understanding rucks and turnovers is vital and can reveal where the battle lines of a game are really drawn.

Read more >
IMAGE_ball_01

Guinness Six Nations and AWS

First played in 1883 as the Home Nations Championship among England, Ireland, Scotland, and Wales, with the inclusion of France in 1910 and Italy in 2000, the Six Nations Championship is among the oldest surviving rugby traditions and is one of the best attended sporting events in the world. Working with AWS and its partner Stats Perform, Six Nations is adopting new technologies that will help fans better understand the complexities and nuances of decisions made on and off the pitch.

Ready to get Started?
Learn more about working with AWS Professional Services.