Recently, here at the Bundesliga Fanatic we recently announced a partnership with InStat Football, who is now the Bundesliga Fanatic’s official data provider. InStat provides state of the art video and analytical services to many of the biggest clubs in world football, including — for Bundesliga fans — Bayern Munich and Borussia Dortmund. Coaches, staff, and players routinely use InStat footage in their training and match preparation. The company is also famed for the information is provides football scouts. So you can understand why we are very excited to partner with this important player in world football.
Our partnership also happens to coincide with the company’s 10th year anniversary. So to celebrate this occasion, we chatted with InStat’s communications director, Nikolay Prudnikov , as well as InStat’s manager in Central Europe, Ivan Cibreiro, about the company.
Bundesliga Fanatic (BF): Who is InStat and what are you best known for?
Nikolay Prudnikov: It may sound like boasting, but we are known as the company who has been changing the sports data industry for the last 10 years. Our revolutionary idea was to make analysis services affordable for a wide range of professional football clubs, and we went on to become successful in implementing this idea. Just imagine that 7-8 years ago, such services were only used by top clubs. But now such giants as Bayern Munich or Borussia Dortmund, a U.S. college, or an average Russian football academy can use the same quality InStat service.
Another important feature is a wide range of high-quality products that can fully satisfy all analytical and scouting needs of football coaching staff and managers, as well as even marketing needs of clubs, leagues and federations.
BF: Describe the most innovative service InStat offers to its clients.
Nikolay Prudnikov: I don’t really like the way this question is framed, but following its logic, the answer is undoubtedly InStat Scout, which is a unique platform offering both capabilities for searching for specific players, as well as video analysis.
What’s crucial here is that our huge statistical database is integrated in it. Besides, it comprises a big number of interesting features, such as player search according to specific statistical parameters, plus match replays in “ball in play” mode, which cuts out all game pauses from the video. And many other features.
However, InStat’s innovative projects are naturally not limited to the InStatScout platform. Scouting brochures and analytical notes, a unique filming system called Autocrop, and an easy to use physical activity data collecting system are just some of the multiple innovative services we are proud of.
BF: InStat has a very impressive client list, including many of the world’s biggest football clubs. How did you attract these big clubs? Did they all come to you at once? Was it a long process? Did it take a big club or two getting on your resume to attract all the others?
Nikolay Prudnikov: the very concepts of “slow” and “fast” are quite relative in our industry, and recruiting any club requires meticulous and serious work. If you manage to get an agreement with a football club after the first meeting, you don’t get too excited, as it’s only half of what needs to be done. It’s important to create favorable conditions for long-term, positive and mutually beneficial cooperation, even if you have a truly in-demand product like InStat does.
Every club, especially a top club, is always an individual story. If there is something that unites our experiences with these clubs, it is their competency and professionalism in club operations in the first place. However, every club has its own settled relations, traditions, philosophy, ideas and approaches to various issues. It’s something that certainly differentiates them.
Ivan Cibreiro: Indeed it’s not something that happens from one day to another; it needs dedication, empathy, knowledge of the market and each club. Especially in Germany you need to develop trust with the client. Of course, it is always good to have some important figures within the market that can recommend you.
BF: What is InStat’s ‘founding story’? Who are the founders and what was their way from the foundation to what the company is now, 10 years later?
Nikolay Prudnikov: The former professional journalist Alex Ivansky is our company’s founder. In a way, he is to InStat what Bill Gates is to Microsoft or Steve Jobs was to Apple; his passion and faith in the idea have been the company’s driving force for over 10 years now. He is still the project leader, involved in the development and launch of new products.
Our team is another reason behind the company’s success. We have several people who have been with the company from the very first day, many others have worked for 4-6 years now.
Ivan Cibreiro: I can confirm that the internal communication within the company works quite good. Even that I am outside of the central office’s country (Russia) I feel as part of the team and we are in constant communication day-by-day.
BF: InStat offers its services in impressive variety of languages. How do you manage to pull it off?
Nikolay Prudnikov: If you want to work all over the world, you’ve got to realize how important it is to consider specifics of every single region, football, and cultural traditions. Language is the foundation of any country’s culture and we pay special attention to this aspect. Other than that it’s more of a technical question, although I must admit that it takes much effort to localize huge amount of materials related to our products.
Ivan Cibreiro: I personally speak almost 5 languages, my native language is German, which is the perfect background for working with German clubs. Of course you also need to know about the attitudes and mentality of the countries you work in. Same for the central office, where we have employees of almost all languages of the world.
BF: Tell our readers a little bit about the process of decoding match videos into various data pieces. What’s the process like? Who exactly does all this important work?
Nikolay Prudnikov: We have a data production center and specialists who have been trained according to our unique training program. They operate our software using the skills they’ve developed in the training, recording more than 500 various actions in each of 2000 matches that we break down weekly. It’s clearly an important and critical work as you have noted in your question, but it would not be possible without many other people involved in the process, from cameramen filming games all over the world and support service specialists to programmers, analysts and managers working in head office or regional offices. InStat’s success in this arena is a result of well-orchestrated teamwork — something contributing to the value of our company and its products.
BF: Describe your specific relations with German clubs representing Bundesliga, 2.Bundesliga, 3.Liga, etc.
Ivan Cibreiro: My relationships with the clubs is excellent, and no matter if they are our clients or not, we are in constant exchange and share ideas throughout the season. It does not matter if they are top Bundesliga clubs or at the bottom of the table in 3.Liga. For my clients, I try to make everything possible and have always an open ear to suggestions or problems they face.
BF: Is there anything unique or distinctive about working with German clubs? In general, what’s the attitude of German clubs towards your services?
Ivan Cibreiro: I think every country has its own mentality and mechanisms. So of course, also in Germany there are many things to respect. As I mentioned earlier, you must have empathy and knowledge of the market, clubs, and persons involved. Also, there is great competition in our market and some clubs use other tools as well, but my goal is to have a faithful relationship with everyone.
BF: Gazing into the crystal ball of the future, are there any directions, developments, ideas that InStat plans to work on? Could you share some of your plans?
Nikolay Prudnikov: The main direction we are going to be concentrated on in the nearest time is improvement and development of available products, developing other sports (ice hockey, basketball, futsal), continuing expansion to new markets and enhancing the work with club and youth academies on the markets where InStat has already become a solid player.
Ivan Cibreiro: We will always be at the top level of the actual needs of the market. I think there is still a lot to expect, for example the mobile devices can offer a lot to the clients in the future. Camera and software technologies are also in constant evolution and allow us to improve our technologies or even offer new technologies.
BF: Thanks Nikolay and Ivan! We look forward to seeing what the future brings to your exciting company.
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