Disney Research


large scale analysis of formations in soccer image

Due to the demand for better and deeper analysis in sports, organizations (both professional teams and broad- casters) are looking to use spatiotemporal data in the form of player tracking information to obtain an advantage over their competitors. However, due to the large volume of data, its unstructured nature, and lack of associated team activity labels (e.g. strategic/tactical), effective and efficient strategies to deal with such data have yet to be deployed. A bottleneck restricting such solutions is the lack of a suitable representation (i.e. ordering of players) which is immune to the potentially infinite number of possible permutations of player orderings, in addition to the high dimensionality of temporal signal (e.g. a game of soccer last for 90 mins). Leveraging a recent method which utilizes a ”role-representation”, as well as a feature reduction strategy that uses a spatiotemporal bilinear basis model to form a compact spatiotemporal representation. Using this representation, we find the most likely formation patterns of a team associated with match events across nearly 14 hours of continuous player and ball tracking data in soccer. Additionally, we show that we can accurately segment a match into distinct game phases and detect highlights. (i.e. shots, corners, free-kicks, etc) completely automatically using a decision-tree formulation.

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