A remarkable year of sport, reviewed

Posted on 21.12.2017

We review a remarkable year of sport

Perform Content and its market leading sports content brands have operated at the cutting-edge and helped our global clients cover sport and engage audiences in new and innovative ways.

Read our 2017 review below and see how we’ve covered a sensational year of sport.

16th-29th January

An amazing year of sport began in Sydney at the Australian Open. The tournament saw two heavyweights of tennis add another title to their impressive tallies; Serena Williams conquered her sister Venus to claim her 23rd grand slam title whilst Roger Federer edged his long-term rival Rafael Nadal to victory in the men’s draw seeing him collect his 18th title.

You can relive both finals in Omnisport editorial articles below produced for our global customers below:

Men’s Final

Women’s Final


14th January-5th February

This year saw the return of the biggest tournament in African football and it certainly didn’t disappoint. Cameroon, branded by many as the worst Cameroon team in living memory pre-tournament, came from behind in a thrilling final to beat Egypt and claim their first AFCON title in 15 years.

The below Omnisport article looks at finalists Egypt and their record breaking goalkeeper:

AFCON 2017: El-Hadary oldest AFCON player ever


5th February

Impressive regular season and playoff campaigns saw the New England Patriots and Atlanta Falcons meet at the NRG Stadium, Texas for Super Bowl LI. The final, watched by over 70,000 in the stadium and millions around the world, proved one of the most exciting in recent history with the Patriot’s mounting the biggest comeback in Super Bowl history to claim an unlikely victory. The Patriots trailed the Falcons 28-3 in the third quarter before a 25 point run, led by MVP quarterback Tom Brady, saw them defeat the NFC champions in overtime. The victory marked the Patriots’ fifth National Football League title moving them level on wins with the Dallas Cowboys and San Francisco 49ers and just one behind the Pittsburgh Steelers on the Super Bowl all-time win list.


This year also saw the announcement of a new strategic media relationship between Perform and the NFL which will see Perform market the NFL’s television broadcast rights in various global territories and the premium digital subscription product NFL Game Pass outside the United States and Europe. You can read more about this new partnership in the press release below:

NFL and Perform Group enter into strategic media relationship


4th February-18th March

From the United States, to Europe, for one of the most competitive competitions in international rugby. This year saw England retain their title, despite losing to Ireland in their closing game of the campaign.

Opta covered every game in the Six Nations calendar in full detail and their market leading product suite of feeds, widgets and data editorial provided insight to support their customers coverage of the tournament across digital, broadcast and social channels.


29th April

April, saw a record breaking crowd of 90,000 gather at Wembley Stadium to watch Anthony Joshua take on heavyweight boxing giant Wladimir Klitschko for the IBF and WBA (super) titles. The fight lived up to its expectations with Joshua claiming victory via TKO following 11 rounds of closely fought boxing.

Omnisport secured an exclusive interview with Joshua as part of their coverage this year where he talked to us about the fight.


1st-12th June

The 2016/17 NBA season concluded with the Gold State Warriors and the Cleveland Cavaliers meeting in the end of season playoffs. This year was the first time two teams have squared off in three consecutive NBA finals with the Warriors looking to reclaim the title that Cavaliers snatched from them the previous season. Following five close fought games it was the Warriors, hailed by many as the “Superteam” thanks to their all-star “Big Four” of Durant, Curry, Thompson and Green, that came out victorious claiming their fifth championship title.

Omnisport was on the ground to provide exclusive coverage of the finals which included the below article utilised by beIN in their coverage of the championships:

Durant and Curry sink LeBron’s Cavs as Warriors reclaim NBA championship

Opta’s comprehensive basketball widget lineup was used by various digital media outlets to illuminate their NBA coverage to fans.


3rd June

Reigning champions Real Madrid met Italian side Juventus at Cardiff’s Millennium Stadium for the Champions League final. The match was a repeat of the 1998 final, which saw Real Madrid edge to a 1-0 victory. Cristiano Ronaldo delivered a man of the match performance to help his team to a 4-1 victory this time around, their second consecutive trophy and third in four years.

Opta’s detailed commentary packs were used by global broadcasters during their coverage of the final to provide additional insight and context to the match. You can download the pack here.


24th June – 23rd July

2017 saw the return of the oldest tournament in the women’s cricket calendar, the ICC Women’s World Cup.  The 11th edition of the tournament, hosted in England and Wales marked the first time all participating players were fully professional. Following some closely fought contests between the top eight ranked teams in women’s cricket, it was India and England that were set to show down in the final at Lords after beating Australia and South Africa in their respective semi-finals. An impressive batting display lead by player of the series, Tammy Beaumont, saw England reverse the result of their group stage meeting and edge victory by nine runs. The win gave England their fourth World title in the ODI format seeing them further close the gap on Australia who lead the way with six titles.

Opta were the official data partner to the tournament, collecting full event data for every game. Opta’s data coverage provided additional insight to broadcasters and media, some examples of Opta data being featured in coverage of the competition can be seen below:

5th and 11th July

Whilst many of our favourite sports stars took some off time during the summer, our team at Opta organised two milestone events for members of the sporting industry.

Opta Match Experience 

The first of these events, the Opta Match Experience, involved a 11-a-side football match for journalists and influencers held at Sutton United FC. The game, attended by journalists from BT Sport, Sky Sports, NBC, the Premier league and more, was tracked tracked in real-time by Opta’s expert data analysts to the same detail used during professional matches in top leagues around the world.

You can watch highlights from the event below, or alternatively read our full write-up here:

Beyond Heatmaps: What’s next for football data

On the 11th July,  Opta hosted a panel event at the Mayfair Hotel, London; the panel, featuring former England international and Match of the Day pundit Danny Murphy, focused on how data can be best used now and in the future when covering football. The panel was followed by a talk from Paul Carr, Senior Researcher for ESPN Stats & Info talking about how sports data use is being taken to the next level through US sports coverage and what’s next for our industry.

You can watch the panel session and presentation from Paul below:

To find out more about the event please read Opta’s article.


4th August

Perhaps the headline of this summers’s transfer window was Neymar’s shock move from Barcelona to Ligue 1 side Paris Saint German. The move saw the Brazilian forward become the most expensive player in football history after PSG triggered his buyout clause in a deal worth 222 million euros. Despite the large price tag, Neymar claimed money was not amongst his motivations saying “he followed his heart not the money”.

Omnisport provided global customers exclusive coverage from the transfer, thanks to an exclusive deal with Ligue 1 and BeIN sports which includes exclusive highlights and news access.


9th August – 26th August

The eight edition of the premier international competition in women’s rugby union was held in Ireland during August this year. The tournament returned a year early in its four-year cycle to avoid clashing with other events which proved effective in drawing record breaking crowds of over 45,000 fans over the 30 matches. The pool stage of the competition saw New Zealand, England, France and the United States progress to the semi-finals as the top four finishers; following dominant semi final performances it was New Zealand and England that met in the final. The Black Ferns ran in seven tries at the Kingspan Stadium defeating reigning champions England 41- 32 and claiming their fifth title, the most of any nation in the tournament’s history.

Opta was named the official data partners of the tournament and collected data in full detail for every game. Opta’s data coverage provided additional insight to broadcasters and media partners.

11th August

August saw the return of the one of the most popular domestic football leagues, the Premier League. In time for the new season, Opta’s data science team released a suite of advanced analytics metrics to help further illuminate teams and players underlying performance and playing styles. These metrics include expected assists, defensive coverage, sequences and perhaps most widely recognised expected goals.

This season marked the first time the expected goals metric was more widely adopted across mainstream media. The metric is now regularly featured on the BBC’s Match of the Day and Sky’s Monday Night Football as well as being utilised to increase insight in articles by the likes of The Times, The Telegraph and The Mirror.


Opta’s expected goals explainer video can be found below:

Perform Group brands, Opta and RunningBall continue to operate as the official media and betting data partners of the eight professional leagues and associated competitions covered by Football DataCo, with exclusive global distribution rights. This year, Perform also signed a wide ranging new integrity deal with Football DataCo. You can read more about the deal below:

Football DataCo unveils ground-breaking integrity strategy with Genius Sports and Perform Group


18th August

Following an eventful transfer window which saw some big names depart, the start of the season saw league heavyweight’s longstanding dominance threatened with both Real and Atletico Madrid suffering shock defeats in the early rounds of fixtures. These early slip-ups have since been rectified with both Madrid sides firmly established at the top of the table going into the Christmas fixtures.

This year saw the announcement of a new five-year strategic partnership between Perform and LaLiga; the deal will see Perform work with the league to expand the global availability of data on Spanish football through the creation of the LaLiga Official Data Centre. You can read more about the partnership in the press release linked below:

LaLiga and Perform Group Create LaLiga Official Data Centre

26th August 

“The Money Fight” between eleven-time five-division boxing world champion Floyd Mayweather Jr and two-division MMA and UFC world champion Conor McGregor was branded by many as the biggest fight in combat sports history. McGregor, who made his first venture into the boxing ring against retired Mayweather, had his debut cut short when Mayweather inflicted a technical knockout in the tenth round. Mayweather’s victory in front of a packed crowd at the T-Mobile Arena saw him extend his undefeated run to 50-0 surpassing Hall of Famer Rocky Marciano.

Omnisport provided broad coverage of this iconic fight across our video and editorial offerings, including the new Storytelling product which you can view here.


15th October

Opta’s most followed Twitter account reached one million followers.

OptaJoe, the official Twitter page for Opta’s British football coverage, created in 2007, further established it’s position as the most credible source and destination for football statistics for fans across the world.

In celebration of reaching this milestone, Opta have created a series of short videos looking back at the journey of the OptaJoe:


22nd – 29th October

The top ranked players from this year’s Women’s Tennis Association tour met in Kallang, Singapore for the finals of both the singles and doubles tournament. Considered the most prestigious event on the tennis calendar behind the four Grand Slams, the finals represent the culmination of 53 tournaments played throughout the world across the season. The women’s singles competition, featuring the best eight female players in the world, saw Venus Williams and Caroline Wozniacki reach the final after emerging from the group and semi-finals stages. Wozniacki broke a seven-match losing streak against Williams to claim victory in the final in straight sets. The title marked the biggest win in the Danish player’s career.

This year marked the first season in which Perform provided full broadcast production of all WTA events as part of an ongoing partnership between the two organisations. You can read more about the work of WTA media and how they are helping elevate and grow women’s tennis in the Omnisport article below:

Innovation key as WTA Media embraces evolving viewing habits


29th October

Following his ninth-place finish at this year’s Mexican Grand Prix and Sebastian Vettel’s failure to finish in the top two, Lewis Hamilton secured his fourth F1 World Championship. Hamilton’s nine race wins throughout the season saw him claim the title with two races to spare making him the most successful British F1 driver of all-time moving him one ahead of Sir Jackie Stewart.

You can hear what the world title means to Hamilton in his own words in the below Omnisport video:


15th November

Peru’s 2-0 victory over New Zealand saw them seal their place at the World Cup, being the last team to do so. The qualifying rounds saw some big names bow out in shock fashion, these included Italy whose defeat to Sweden in the play-offs saw them miss out for the first time since 1958. Other teams that will be absent from next year’s competition include 2014 semi-finalist’s Netherlands, the USA and Chile.

You can see all the teams qualified for Russia 2018 in Omnisport’s article below:

2018 FIFA World Cup: The 32 qualified teams


23rd November – 3rd January

Cricket’s most historic rivalry returns.

This year’s competition saw England travel to Australia for the five test series. With three tests having been played, Australia have displayed their dominance claiming victory in all three tests, reclaiming the Ashes. Despite promising bowling pressure by England in the second innings of the second test, ongoing issues with their batting saw the visitors crumble when faced with relentless pressure from the Australian bowlers. England now look ahead to the fourth test with hopes of salvaging something from the series and preventing an Aussie whitewash.

As part of their coverage of the series Opta created an programme which used Opta data to look ahead to the second test. You can download the programme by clicking the image below:

1st December

The countdown to the World Cup has truly begun.

Compared to the qualifying rounds the draw provided slightly less drama, with many claiming that no true “group of death” materialised. It did however see Portugal drawn with neighbours Spain and Nigeria face Argentina for the fifth time in their six World Cup appearances. Feisty.

Opta created a World Cup Prediction model which utilises Opta’s extensive database of past international and World Cup matches to calculate each teams World Cup prospects. Following the draw, OptaJoe’s Duncan Alexander and Data Scientist Sam Gregory presented some of the models findings, in a World Predictions show which can be seen below:

You can read more about Opta’s World Cup Predictions and the model here.


2017 has been a great year of sport and 2018 promises to be even better.

We can help you take advantage through our market-leading sports content solutions.

To learn more about our coverage of these events and we can help you, please email us here.


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