There was an interesting piece in TechCrunch today about a new service being launched out of Israel called IMScouting. From the IMScouting site:
“IMScouting collects in-depth data on 48 leagues in more than 40 countries with a total coverage of over 40,000 professional footballers. The data is collected using a network of 40 “correspondents”—football experts situated locally in European, African and Latin American countries that IMScouting employs to report data back to the mothership. Propriety crawlers are also used, but to a lesser degree. In-house experts—journalists, ex-players and other football experts—review the data to ensure reliability before it’s made public.”
Sounds like a decent service and with super scout Pini Zihavi behind it must have a strong attraction for clubs around the world. The free version has some basic information on each player, including their size and season stats. Nice to have it all in one place but nothing that couldn’t be found out by searching the web. The premium version provides some more meat with contract details provided and more detailed search functions.
I’ve long thought however about whether clubs could make use of crowdsourcing to find out about players. Crowdsourcing in football came to the fore recently with the MyFootballClub venture by William Brooks whereby fans bought and run a small English football team.
Before that however the popular Football Manager computer game has long relied upon volunteers from around the world to provide the statistics for each player, and the game often proves remarkably accurate in predicting the abilities of players, especially those young players looking to hit the big time. So why can’t clubs do something similar?
The bigger clubs have millions of fans around the world, many of whom will have decent knowledge of their local leagues and the players within them. Football Manager has shown that the software to input this kind of information isn’t too hard to construct. Clubs could even pay people that first highlight a player that then goes on and becomes a player for the club. Obviously things like contract details might be harder to come by for the layman but nevertheless it would be interesting to see how fruitful such a project could be.
Football fans are unique in the support they give their team so I’m sure it would get plenty of interest and crowd sourcing could provide clubs with an awful lot of insight from the collective brains of their fan base, not to mention tightening the bond between club and supporters.