SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

We see a range of new products and experiences launched for bettors every time major football tournaments come around. In the last few years, it seems most of them have been built around Stats Perform’s Opta data feeds. According to Stats Perform’s VP of Betting Product Nick Cockerill, Euro 2024 and Copa América are set to be no different.

As part of our SBC Innovation series, we spoke to Nick about a brand-new addition to Opta’s football data offering. It’s one that might have even more power for both media storytelling about the beautiful game and gamification than anything else in recent memory… Meet Opta Points.  

In this interview we discuss:

  • The value to media, operators and bettors of being able to transparently see players’ in-game influence and impact .
  • How Opta Points is calculated. 
  • Ideas for unique Opta Points betting markets that sportsbooks could offer at Euro 2024, Copa América and beyond.

SBC News: Hi Nick, please tell us more about Opta Points?

Nick Cockerill: Opta Points is an objective, transparent, trusted measurement of a player’s impact, that’s calculated in real-time. 

It’s at a huge scale, spanning thousands of players and multiple leagues. That means new levels of creativity for football storytelling, gamification and of course, betting. 

Opta Points turns a player’s performance on the pitch into point-scoring actions that can be compared with other players, games, leagues, even historical seasons. 

So, it won’t just be single actions like shots, saves, cards, tackles, passes that matter to fans – it’s 18 different unique stats that help define a player’s contribution within a game (or portion of a game). 

There are so many ways to use an objective, transparent comparison of player impact in betting, and beyond. It will drive deeper fan engagement on live score apps and tech platforms and in the stories broadcasters and publishers can tell. Presenting lots of opportunities to grow the international audience who understand Opta Points. High awareness has played a major role in helping grow stats-markets to what they are today. 

Football is often called the global game… now for the first time, there can be a global game where players can be compared, their performances objectively dissected and discussed. We’re excited about the possibilities that Opta Points will unlock for sure.

SBCN: How is Opta Points calculated?

NC: Opta Points condenses a players influence in a game into a single, transparent, trusted points total. It distils 18-in game stats into a single metric for each player, that’s calculated and updated in real-time. 

Each stat has a corresponding positive or negative value, which is transparently available. For example, four points for a shot on target, minus one for an offside, two points for a tackle or an interception. Added together we get a running total of a player’s impact.

The Opta Points scoring system has been carefully devised so players in all positions have their impact captured, making it very versatile for sports betting uses and gamification.

For example, here’s how Opta Points rated Alexander Sørloth’s record-breaking performance in LaLiga (@OptaJoe told me he was only the 11th player ever to score four goals in one game against Real Madrid). In that game, he scored 67.4 points from the following in-game stats:

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

And here’s how it compared to Jude Bellingham’s influence and shot-heavy performance in England’s friendly versus Belgium; plenty of attempts on goal with a decent amount of defensive work that helped him accrue 52.6 points.

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

Players in different positions like goalkeepers, defenders and midfielders have plenty of opportunities to score highly – depending on the context of the game. For example, Kepa Arrizabalaga’s three saves and 49 passes proved crucial in a low-scoring encounter between Real Sociedad and Real Madrid, which the latter won 1-0.

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

With coverage across hundreds of teams and thousands of players, Opta Points unlocks endless new gamification and content opportunities for many players in the sports ecosystem. Broadcasters, publishers, live scores apps, games providers, sportsbooks and brands will be able to use Opta Points to bring fans closer to their favourite players and the world’s most popular sport.

We’ll also publish them directly on our Opta Analyst website – so bettors can perform their own research and see the Opta Points accrued by players at international and domestic competitions. 

For sportsbooks, Opta Points live, in-play markets are possible. Cash-out is possible. It is perfect to be broken down into micro-markets within a game. 

We’ve also been working on several front-end tools that display a player’s Opta Points totals changing, and moving up and down a leader board as a game unfolds. 

It’s super engaging, immersive and we’re looking forward to unveiling our efforts soon. 

SBCN: How has Opta Points been used by operators so far?

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyondNC: Sky Bet, a tier-1 operator in the UK market supported us during the development phase of Opta Points, helping test fan interest by creating a brand-new ‘player of the match’ market priced and settled using Opta Points.

Player of the match markets have existed for a while, normally settled based on the commentator’s opinion, which is subject to all sorts of biases and so is problematic for betting and making predictions. Opta Points meant that Sky Bet could settle their markets with important objectivity and transparency. They can track and model it during a game, offering in-play products.  Customers can also track the Opta Points of every player in the match to see how Kroos compared versus Bellingham or Vinicius Junior so they understood clearly how their bet is going and post-match, whether it won or lost, and why.

Pleasingly these new markets quickly caught the imagination of Sky Bet customers, with many requesting markets for more games on Sky Bet’s RequestABet Twitter profile. Great feedback to have so soon after introducing a new market.

Novibet customers during Euro 2024 are in for a treat too, with a wide variety of tournament-specials based around our unique Opta Points scoring system to provide tournament-long interest at a player and team level – in a dedicated Opta Points section in their new Euro 2024 hub.

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

They’ve also created a bespoke menu of markets for individual games during Euro 2024 – including over / under team and player Opta Points totals, player of the match-style markets and player head-to-heads. 

We’re very excited to see what else the Novibet team have up their sleeves as the tournament unfolds.

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

SBCN: What markets could you create using Opta Points during Euro 2024?

NC: There are limitless options to get creative and unique. If you’ve been speaking to someone from our Stats Perform team, you’ve hopefully already got your hands on our historical Opta Points data to help kickstart the validation of your models and ideas. The Opta Points API is also available. 

From the many conversations we had at ICE in February, we’re anticipating many sportsbook trading and marketing teams getting very creative with Opta Points this summer. 

We’ve also been thinking of a few ideas of our own at a match, matches and tournament-level to help your creative brainstorming process. We’ve got a guide with around 20 initial suggestions – get in touch and I’ll send to you, but here’s a teaser to whet your appetite.

SBC News Opta Points: major new stats category to transform sports betting entertainment at the Euros and beyond

My personal favourites are those that connect bettors to multiple games and even across leagues, like “Leeds to score more points than Man Utd”. Bragging rights and personalisation rolled into one! 

Check Also

Mobile

Top 4 tips to optimise your esports betting product for 2024’s major events

Nick Scott, Sales Director at Bayes Esports, writes for SBC News to elaborate on a …

STATSCORE

STATSCORE: new identity reflects our dynamic growth

STATSCORE, a sports data provider, has just undergone an extensive rebranding process, unveiling a new …

SBC News Clever Advertising: riding the wave of African regulation

Clever Advertising: riding the wave of African regulation

Writing for SBC News, Liliana Almeida, Head of Brand at Clever Advertising, walks us through …