United Soccer League Teams Up with Sports Data Provider Opta
Three-year partnership to debut at 2016 USL Cup Final on Oct. 23
TAMPA, Fla. – The United Soccer League has agreed to a three-year partnership with Opta, the world’s leading provider of live, detailed sports data, to become the league’s Official Data Partner, providing the teams, fans and media with more tracked, recorded and databased action than ever before.
The partnership will begin during the 2016 USL Cup Final, airing live on Saturday, Oct. 23, at 8 p.m. ET on ESPNU.
Heading into the 2017 season, Opta will manage and deliver statistical analysis for all USL matches, including regular season, USL Cup Playoffs and USL Cup Final games. The data will be available to fans on USLSoccer.com, featuring new match centers utilizing Opta’s widget technology. USL teams also will have the ability to integrate Opta data into its own websites and enhance the experience for fans.
Opta will also provide a variety of elements beyond simple web integration, including press box statistics distribution and creation of social media infographics, along with supplying consultancy around using advanced statistical elements in a centralized broadcast feed, in partnership with USL Productions.
“We are pleased to partner with Opta, whose expertise in sports data offers a competitive advantage to our players, coaches and teams while providing deep insights available to our passionate fans,” said USL President Jake Edwards. “It is a huge benefit to the USL Digital Network and USL Productions, allowing us to meet and exceed the demand of our ever-growing supporter base as well as the appetite of today’s soccer consumer, who is equally driven by content and engagement.”
With the USL and MLS now holding Official Data Partnerships with Opta, a consistent database will exist to aid in the recruitment and scouting of players while improving professional player development in North America.
“Opta is delighted to enter this partnership with the USL, one of the fastest growing sports leagues in North America, who join our global portfolio of rights holders in soccer,” said Angus McNab, Vice President of Content for Perform in North America. “USL’s sustainability and plan for strategic growth have impressed our team and position Opta to provide the tools which will enhance the professional game in the United States and Canada.”
Based in London with an office in New York City, Opta has major data partnerships within the sport, including the Barclay’s Premier League, Football League Championship, Bundesliga and A-League. The company was acquired by leading digital sports content and media group Perform in 2013.
FOLLOW THE USL
The 2016 USL Cup will air live on ESPNU and the WatchESPN app on Saturday, October 23 at 8 p.m. ET. Every other game of the 2016 USL Cup Playoffs is available through the USL Cup Playoffs Center, with updates from across the league also available via Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram.
About United Soccer League
The United Soccer League, the longest-standing professional affiliate member of U.S. Soccer, is the largest professional soccer league in the United States and Canada, and the world, currently with 29 teams in 19 U.S. states and three Canadian provinces for the 2016 season. The USL has more than doubled in size since 2014 and built a stable, highly competitive professional soccer league on a national footprint with strong ownership groups in major markets positioned for long-term success. The 2016 season has marked the introduction of six teams – Bethlehem Steel FC, FC Cincinnati, Orlando City B, Rio Grande Valley FC, San Antonio FC and Swope Park Rangers. The league has confirmed the addition of Reno 1868 FC in 2017 and Nashville FC in 2018. The USL’s teams are divided into two conferences – Eastern and Western – with each team playing 30 regular season games. In addition to league play, USL teams compete in the Lamar Hunt U.S. Open Cup as well as various domestic and international exhibitions. The USL is the strongest U.S. men’s professional soccer league below Major League Soccer (MLS). Every game of the 2016 USL season will be available on the league’s Match Center and can be seen live, free and in HD on YouTube (www.Youtube.com/USL), with updates from across the league also available via Twitter, Facebook, Vine and Instagram.