Case Study - Southampton Football Club

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Case Study - Southampton Football Club

 

When Premier League football club Southampton wanted to upgrade its training facilities, it knew that leading-edge audiovisual technology could help it gain competitive advantage. The club turned to local digital media specialist Intevi. 

For a football club located in one of the UK’s smaller cities, Southampton FC has enjoyed remarkable success when it comes to identifying and developing young talent. It’s a strategy that has seen the club unearth players such as the world’s most expensive player Gareth Bale, Theo Walcott, Alex Oxlade- Chamberlain, Luke Shaw and club legend Matt le Tissier. It is rapidly gaining a reputation for unearthing hidden gems from outside its historical catchment area, too. 

To support this focus on player development, together with the club’s sophisticated policy for identifying transfer targets Southampton embarked on an ambitious programme to extend and improve its Staplewood training ground, at a cost of almost £40 million. The club wanted the upgraded resource to be state of the art, comparable to the best in Europe. 

Fundamental to its vision was the provision of a cutting edge, integrated audiovisual infrastructure that would combine facility-wide PA and audio, digital signage and digital TV distributed throughout. On top of that, and most prevalent, was a complete system for capturing its players’ performances in training – plus the performance of potential recruitment targets – and subsequently analysing on-screen. 

Using technology for competitive advantage 

The club was clear on two things: its future success is partly defined by its ability to be innovative, smarter and quicker than its rivals and the latest technology at the Staplewood campus should reflect this; and the audiovisual system should be highly functional, sophisticated and flexible for upgrades yet at the same time, simple to use. 

To help deliver this vision Southampton turned to local company Intevi. Installation across a number of key areas in the newly opened Markus Liebherr Pavilion has guaranteed the flexibility and upgradability the club required. 

Intevi provided both audio and video distribution solutions throughout the facility, including a full auditorium that is operated for internal staff meetings and club press conferences with the media. 

At the heart of the video distribution system is a Tripleplay Video Management Server (VMS), which integrates with a similar solution previously installed at the St Mary’s stadium. 

One key aspect of the overall solution is the Black Box room. It is here that the player performances and scouting network are scrutinised and analysed for improvement opportunities. The customised software solution accesses global statistic databases for players across the world, allowing Southampton to monitor every player in every major league and highlighting where the squad can be improved. 

In this room, Intevi fitted a Samsung 95 inch commercial display, which was the first in the UK to use a touch overlay. The intuitive touch panel enables users to easily reconfigure the room. The software platform the club’s analysts have developed works in a dual-screen mode and an Arthur Holm-motorised display, which is fitted to the desk, allows an operator to either interact locally using the keyboard and mouse, or in front of the larger screen using the touch interface. 

Every player, every game 

Beyond the Black Box room sit a large team of analysts who continually drive the use of video within the club to aid the management team to develop and improve the football aspects of the club at all levels. 

The internal analysis capability has been significantly improved thanks to the installation of eight fixed-performance cameras across five training pitches. A further 15 cameras will be installed upon the completion of expansion works early this year. 

These cameras allow the analysts to record every training session at all levels, from first team to Under-8s, plus every home fixture is also filmed at the Staplewood Campus, which enables them to closely monitor player development. 

Intevi developed a unique solution for Southampton that sees every camera linked by a single-fibre connection that delivers the raw video to any analyst’s desk in the Markus Liebherr Pavilion or the local grandstand. The cameras, which can be controlled by RS485 joysticks from a desk, also deliver an IP network stream over the same fibre for distribution. The Tripleplay system allows the analysts to record footage from a simple single button interface and play the live video footage on to any screen, 

The position and height of the cameras also play a crucial part in the solution with the cameras mounted on a tilt down 12 metre poles. The cameras on the halfway line have to be positioned far enough back to allow them to capture as much of the action in a single shot. 

Being able to do this in real time and during a training session is proving successful in re-enforcing the manager’s messages. 

Southampton has already received praise from players, coaches and media alike since the opening of the Markus Liebherr opening. The upgraded facility is testament to the club’s vision – but also to Intevi’s expertise in turning that vision into a reality that delivers real results, both off and on the pitch. ◼ 

 

 


 Tom Scott, Intevi Managing Director said: “Intevi is proud to have been associated with Southampton FC for the last three years and like to think that the technology has had some small part in the recent success. 
“As an organisation we remain focussed on solving actual business needs with a range of solutions. The solutions have to be scalable, future proof and useable by non-technical staff enabling them to focus on their core day jobs. 
“The performance analysis work at Southampton FC not only leads the way in the UK but is at the forefront of anything happening throughout Europe.” 

Southampton FC's Head Analyst Andrew Stone said: “We pride ourselves on being a progressive and innovative club, which is why we partnered with Intevi. It’s a company we’ve worked with before at St Mary’s and a company we trust to transform our ideas into reality. As a result, we have a state-of-the-art facility with the same level of technology at our fingertips. 
“The solutions Intevi have supplied are unique to the way we work and it allows us to provide the best possible environment for the players, as well as enabling the coaching and staff team members to record, capture and communicate data in the most effective manner.”
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