Son of Zeus, the mythological figure of Heracles is considered the greatest of the Greek heroes. In the last few weeks, the homonymous Dutch club has lived up to the legacy the name entails. Heracles Almelo won all their four matches since mid-August, giving them the second place in the Eredivisie standings – just one point behind leader Ajax. By clearly outperforming expectations, Heracles is a rightful recipient of ORTEC Sports’ “Team of the Month” distinction.
With 12 points in 5 matches, the Almelo side is recording its second-best start ever. The only time they managed to do better was in 1964, when the team won its first 5 matches. This is clearly a different picture from last season: in 2014/15, Heracles had to wait until the 8th matchday to score the first points in the competition (the first 7 games were all losses).
Looking at the numbers, we can find some of the reasons why Heracles has been performing so well. To begin with, their goal conversion rate (17%) ranks second in the Eredivisie, only trailing Ajax (18%). This figure represents the percentage of shot attempts that result in a goal.
On the other hand, it is clear that Heracles has been really active fighting for the ball. Averaging 173 duels per game, they lead this category. The same goes for defensive positioning errors: Heracles has only committed one big mistake in the last four matches.
Scoring 4 goals against Cambuur and 5 in total, Oussama Tannane has also earned the right to be highlighted as “Key Player”. The 21-year old winger stood out during this period, earning reported interest from clubs in Turkey and a call from the Moroccan national team coach. Tannane has played with the Dutch U21 national team before.
Check the infographic below for more in-depth information:
Opponent, competition, weather, team performance are just a few examples of variables that can influence demand for sports tickets. Understanding and putting them to your service is key for a club to take its ticket pricing strategies to a new level. Everyone loves a good rivalry. No matter the sport, one can always find great stories of fierce competitors. Teams going neck and neck season after season, only to make a difference in the end, with a small detail, when facing each other. We are talking about a Barcelona-Real Madrid in football or a Los Angeles Lakers-Boston Celtics in basketball. Or even an Australia-England in cricket. On an individual level, take tennis players Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal as perfect examples of this.
Rivalries are incredible ticket sales drivers. For these games, promotional activities are almost unnecessary. Big names sell themselves easily. That is how powerful they are. The same might not happen when a title contender plays a team fighting to avoid relegation. The quality gap can make it less appealing for fans to show up. On a winter Friday evening, watching the game on TV might well win over facing the cold, rainy weather to see a lesser opponent getting beaten by a top dog. In the last paragraph we already mentioned several factors with an impact in demand for sports tickets: opponent, position in the standings, day of the week or weather. How many more can you think of? 3? 5? 10?
The list is even longer than you can probably imagine. But this tag cloud already gives a good overall idea of the many variables involved in this process.
A Sunday afternoon league game with no TV broadcast will – generally speaking – lead to high demand levels. But an injury to a star player can push some potential buyers away from the game. The same might go for a popular local event (such as a big music festival).
Of course, reality changes from club to club. At Feyenoord, one of our customers, the data analysis showed that fan loyalty was so high that the results on the pitch had little to no influence on the actual attendance numbers. To put it simply: Feyenoord’s fans are so dedicated that they wouldn’t stop going to the stadium even if the team wasn’t performing that well. That’s an example of extreme loyalty!
By measuring the impact of these factors in demand for sports tickets, clubs and venues will be able to make better predictions and put more accurate prices on their tickets. Being aware is already a first step; using data analysis will allow them to take their ticket pricing strategies to a new level.
Here at ORTEC Sports there is a tremendous amount of data about player and team performance. Every week we analyse tons of matches, tagging all actions and events that happen on the pitch. As a result, we can extract very interesting insights. This is relevant for clubs and media we work with, but also provides football fans around the world extra knowledge about the game we all love. That is why every month of this season we will be showing you the best performing players under the age of 21 in Europe’s top leagues: Spain, England, Germany, Italy, France, Netherlands, Portugal and Belgium.
During the last month, the best of the best was Borussia Dortmund’s new wonderboy: Julian Weigl. At only 19, he has featured as a defensive midfielder – joining İlkay Gündoğan and Shinji Kagawa in a trio that has powered Dortmund to a great start in the Bundesliga. On the offensive side, Weigl boasts an impressive pass completion rate, managing to deliver 96% of his passes to a teammate. He has also been outstanding when getting into duels with opponents, winning them 65% of the times. His average grade in August was an excellent 8.5 (on a scale from 0 to 10). Weigl was signed from 1860 Munich this offseason.
John Stones comes in second on this list, after a series of good performances in Everton’s defense (8.0 grade). The 21-year old defender has excelled in regaining possession, while committing only one foul in three matches.
Karim Rekik, who recently moved from PSV to Marseille, joins the group of top performers with his first starts in the French league. The Dutch centre back has been very involved in the team’s offensive build up, with an average of 58 passes per game. At the same time, Rekik racked up 8 clearances per match, further justifying his good grade (7.8).
The top 4 is completed with a more attacking player: Anwar El Ghazi. In four games for Ajax, the Dutch winger scored 6 goals, converting a staggering 43% of his shot attempts. Plus, the 6 goals came from his (only) 6 shot attempts on target. El Ghazi finished the month with a grade of 7.6.