“Wyscout means democracy in football – any club can find new talents in a faster way. It’s just a matter of understanding and realising that,” said Matteo Campondonico, founder of Wyscout. As football clubs across the world have started using data and video analysis to improve their player recruitment, they’ve started working with companies who can provide them access to detailed information about players. One of the leading brands is Wyscout.
Wyscout offers a subscription service that gives subscribers access to their large database of video footage and data. Users can search for clips by player or by type of action (such as assist, goal, or through pass). The company also records data from the videos, such as passing accuracy or percentage of aerial duels won, that make it easier for scouts to find players who are performing at the level they are looking for.
By providing all this information in one place, Wyscout allows clubs to search much more thoroughly for new players, looking at competitions that they would otherwise not be able to afford to scout. The in-depth data also allows clubs to make smarter, more informed decisions about which players they sign. For a company that isn’t a household name, they are having a big impact on football.
The Origins of Wyscout
Campodonico, a business analyst with a degree in economics, founded Wyscout in Genoa, Italy, back in 2004. He had been recording and analysing local football matches with a friend. This led to them doing some analysis work for professional teams and he quickly realised that there was a lack of digital resources for scouts.
The first version of the Wyscout platform was launched in 2008 under the name Wiscout. The website contained very simple data about players, such as their height and weight, and allowed users to order DVDs of match footage.
This was a time when DVDs were a common way for clubs to access video footage of potential signings. Campodonico has spoken about one experience he had when he was in the office of the sporting director of a Serie A club. The sporting director had thousands of DVDs of players and was searching through their collection to find the one they wanted to look at. They couldn’t find it. “They decided not to buy the player because they could not find the DVD,” Campodonico revealed. “At that moment I thought ‘ok let’s create a super database where you have all players in the world and you can access videos in real time’.”
Video was soon embedded on the Wiscout site and a small number of games were made available to stream. A second version followed in 2010, as the company changed the name of the platform to the now-familiar Wyscout.
By 2016, more than 500 clubs used the platform on a daily basis. That number has continued to grow, reaching 1000 clubs and 60 national teams by the time the company was bought by sports analysis firm Hudl in 2019. It’s grown even more since then and is now one of the standard software products used by professional football clubs across the world.
In recent years, the platform has made available more and more data. Once, scouts wanted to focus on watching players, but now recruitment analysts are finding the data an important source of information about potential signings. As clubs get better at using data and developing statistical profiles to help them find the kind of players they want, this data is becoming an essential resource.
Wyscout collects data and video from over 600 competitions around the world. Over half a million players are included in the database. It’s a big operation that requires a lot of work.
Some of the videos come from the rights holders for the competitions. Others are provided by competitions that want to be featured on the platform. Some clubs also send videos. For smaller clubs and competitions, being on the platform provides an opportunity for their talent to be spotted by bigger clubs, allowing them to make a profit from transfers. They can also attract players with the incentive that if they do well, there will be opportunities for them to progress their career.
The company has a team of 250 experts working for them, providing the growing amount of data available on the site. They analyse over 2000 events for every match available on the platform, creating a large database of data for each player so that clubs can see how they’ve performed in each game and season by season. The data is time-stamped, includes positional-coordinates, and is synced to the relevant video, making it easier for scouts to combine data and video analysis.
Hundreds of professional football clubs now use Wyscout. It hasn’t replaced scouts attending live matches, but it has helped clubs to search much more broadly than before. Clubs no longer need to spend a fortune hiring scouts in different countries across the world. Instead, they can view players from hundreds of competitions with just a laptop.
“Now we can watch any match in the world, create video clips very easily and get information of any player, any club, any league at our fingertips,” revealed Tsutomu Nishino, Technical Director of the Japanese team Urawa Reds.
Once a club has identified a player, or been recommended one, Wyscout helps the recruitment team to more thoroughly assess whether or not the player is the right fit for the club.
“Wyscout really helps us in terms of recruitment, especially when agents give us new names, players that we don’t play against very often being able to search some of them, link the principles of our play up against what they’re doing at their club that they’re at the moment,” explained Lauren Smith, Head Coach of Bristol WFC, as the club rebuilt their squad in 2022. “For example, with centre backs we can look at 1v1 duels, aerial duels, passes, progressive passes.”
It’s not just football clubs who use Wyscout. “We have players like Chiellini using it and Van Dijk,” Campodonico told Forbes. “The professional players are interested in preparing for a game. Sometimes it’s not enough what the coach is telling you.”
The platform allows players to create customised feeds so that they can automatically receive information about their most recent game and their next opponent. There is also an app so that they can easily access this information from their phone.
Football pundits are using it too. Micah Richards, who regularly appears on Sky Sports and the BBC, is a big fan of the platform. The former Man City defender uses it to prepare for his TV appearances, finding information about the teams playing and which players to look out for. “I use it for absolutely every piece of detail I can get,” he’s explained. He can then share the insights he gains from the app with the public.
The remote nature of Wyscout is also transforming the way that football clubs hire recruitment staff. An analyst can search Wyscout from wherever they are based. This is allowing people who are skilled in using the platform to find work across the world, even if they don’t have a background working in football.
“Clubs are realising they don’t have to do things the traditional way,” recruitment analyst Oli O’Connell told the i newspaper. “There’s no reason why I cannot work for a Belgian club from my bedroom in Lancaster.” Wyscout has transformed football, making recruitment smarter, players better informed, pundits more knowledgeable, and opening up jobs in football to people who wouldn’t have got a look in before.
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