MOCAP Analytics: A Q&A with Eldar Akhmetgaliyev

MOCAP Analytics is a Silicon Valley tech startup – co founded-in 2011 by Caltech PhDs Eldar Akhmetgaliyev and Arian Forouhar – that has quickly become a global leader in player-tracking and other associated data.

MOCAP was acquired by Sportradar last year and at SportsPro LIVE 2018 in London this week, Akhmetgaliyev will speak about location data and its role within the modern sporting landscape.

Ahead of his speech on Wednesday afternoon, he offered a brief overview of MOCAP’s beginnings and what guests can expect from his session at SportsPro LIVE.

What are MOCAP’s roots?

We started the company in 2012 and we were a small start-up. Myself and Arian met through the California Institute of Technology and he always had a passion for sports and technology.

We got in touch with the Golden State Warriors and managed to get our hands on the tracking data and realised there was a huge potential in that but also that it was going to take a lot of effort in order to analyse it, understand it and then construct something useful.

That’s when we felt, okay, this will be a goldmine for building insights and stories.

How did MOCAP grow and what is the current market landscape?

In 2013 we started our relationship with the Warriors and we continued to train “The Machine” and improve our algorithms for the NBA. In 2015 we started a new agreement with Zebra Technologies (NFL tracking data collector) taking on new sports and applying similar concepts from basketball to football.

Altogether, we worked with teams, league and data collectors.

The growth has been steady in terms of the number of stories we can sell – that’s our main product. Every story we create is done with the mindset of being scalable. If we have a story about how lucky a team’s win in the game was, the scalability part allows us to tell that story for every game in the season.

How has the Sportradar acquisition affected MOCAP?

In October last year we were acquired by Sportradar.

Obviously, it’s very exciting to be part of Sportradar – a successful global organisation that shows tremendous growth. It’s a different culture within a much bigger company, we were a small start-up but we’ve adjusted fairly quickly. It’s most exciting to now be able to share the content we created with a wider audience.

We’re still working on the fan-facing media products and until millions of sports fans are aware of our content and engaged by it, I don’t think the problem is solved.

Can you give us an insight into your SportsProLIVE speech?

I’m going to talk about a few different things – the MVP race, the best rookies and just some interesting cool insights that come from The Machine. I’m going to try not to bore people too much with the math, instead I want to focus on sports stories – it’s not about data as much as it is about engaging content.

I will also talk about an interesting player to look out for. All of the content in the presentation is created based on data insights from The Machine as well as our sports expertise. This combination, in our opinion, creates the best sports stories.

Catch Eldar’s speech at SportsPro LIVE 2018 on Wednesday at 16:00.

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