DFL to collect VBL data using AWS Textract

07 Auguts 2020 – DFL Deutsche Fußball Liga has announced that it will automate the collection of official match data from Virtual Bundesliga (VBL) games, dramatically reducing a manual, time-consuming process to just seconds. Using the Amazon Web Services (AWS) Textract solution, information will be extracted from uploaded files, such as screenshots of the game’s summary statistics page, using advanced optical character recognition and computer vision processes.

Up to now, the DFL has relied on VBL teams and players to provide match data following each game. Competing clubs were responsible for entering stats on goal scoring, shots, shots on goal, ball possession and passing accuracy manually via a VBL dashboard. Teams were also required to upload screenshots of stats summary pages, as well as a recording of each game. This process was particularly time-consuming, taking ten minutes per team per game, and exposed official match data to potential human error – analysis of data captured in past seasons found that incorrect stats were recorded in approximately 15 % of games. Thus, the new service will not only offer great benefits moving forward but will also support the DFL in upgrading information on past seasons.

With this new process, we can offer fans a new experience if they aren’t able to watch the game live.

Jörg Höflich, Head of Virtual Bundesliga

The project was started to improve the quality and speed of access to the VBL data that the DFL makes available to its clubs, partners and broadcasters and in turn provide accurate statistics to present to fans. By utilising AWS’s artificial intelligence competencies, the DFL has been able to scale services, improve operational efficiency and in turn enhance the experience for the VBL’s growing fan base. The automated process captures twice the amount of data, despite taking just five to ten seconds to complete. Thus, it allows the DFL to become the single trusted source and deliver the results to the fans directly after the game without delay.

‘We are really happy to announce this feature for our clubs,’ says Jörg Höflich, Head of Virtual Bundesliga. ‘With this new process, we can offer fans a new experience if they aren’t able to watch the game live and, moreover, we are able to support our clubs which are at the heart and core of our league.’

A commitment to innovation

In 2012, the DFL became the first professional football league to launch its own e-sports competition, the VBL. By improving the viewing experience for its growing audience of gaming enthusiasts, the DFL can continue to build its presence in the world of professional gaming.

This is the latest innovation to come from the partnership between the DFL and AWS, which was unveiled as the organisation’s official technology provider in January 2020. AWS cloud infrastructure, combined with advanced machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, has allowed the DFL to launch ‘Bundesliga Match Facts powered by AWS’. Since Matchday 28, this technology has been providing Bundesliga viewers with additional insights such as ‘Average Positions’ and ‘Expected Goals’ by analysing real-time statistics.