• Andy Marston

De Bruyne uses data analysis to score new contract

Kevin De Bruyne signed a new Man City contract, worth over £80million, to extend his spell at the Etihad to 2025. What was unique about this was that the playmaker hired data analysts to help negotiate the significant pay-rise.

Could it change how all future player contracts are negotiated? This week’s newsletter takes a closer look.

Every week there is more news highlighting the power and impact data can have on the way almost everything is done across the sports industry.

Hiring a Data-Agent

The latest news surrounding Kevin De Bruyne illustrates how data analysis could revolutionise player contracts.

The Belgian playmaker commissioned a team of data analysts to study almost every relevant aspect of his contribution to the team, and the team’s continued chances of success.

He wanted information on his own performances and impact on the team, but also a prediction on the squad’s ability to continue challenging for top honours (such as Champions League) based on their age and qualities, and how City compare to their big rivals at home and abroad.

As per The Athletic, the results convinced him of two things:

  • He is integral to the team

  • There is nowhere he would rather be.

As such, he then leveraged this to negotiate a new contract, worth over £80m.

The New Normal?

Rio Ferdinand believes Kevin de Bruyne will not be the only footballer to use data analytics to negotiate a new contract. So, could this become the new normal?

Matt Hymers, CEO and Co-Founder of Connected Fanatics, explains “Data ownership really is the key component here… For this to work at scale, players need a centralised data passport based on a standard set of metrics and collection methods that is agreed upon and immutably connected, accessible and private to the athlete whereby clubs are granted access to it under contract.”

However, there are a number of problems with this, “Not least the fact that an individual players’ data is essentially useless without the broader context of the data from the players and team around them.”

“So, you’re in a situation where you need both complete secure privacy and total transparency.”

To conclude, while this deal shows potential for the future of contract negotiations, the means by which to bring it all together through a holistic technological solution are still some way off. Considerable changes are needed from both a governance and commercial perspective.


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