FC Barcelona is using the 2017 US Tour to explain, at different forums in the United States, its main strategic projects. These include the Barça Innovation Hub (BiHub), i.e. the creation of the world’s number knowledge and innovation center in terms of the sports industry. The Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), so prestigious in the field of research and investigation, was the ideal venue to host the first conference on the future of the sports industry in association with the BiHub.
The event was attended by FCB director Jordi Moix, together with the club’s director of Strategic Planning and Innovation, Javier Sobrino, and Maurici López-Felip, a member of the Team Sports Area.
The MIT was represented by its executive vice-president, Israel Ruiz, and was attended by more than one hundred members of the university community, including professors, students, businesspeople and sports institutions.
After some words from Jordi Moix, Javier Sobrino presented the Barça Innovation Hub and explained how pleased the club is to be able to partner with one of the world’s leading institutions in terms of knowledge generation. He focused his talk on outlining the five areas into which the BiHub is divided: Team Sports, Performance, Medical Services and Nutrition, Technology and Social Sciences. MIT professors then presented their own lines of research, which could serve as the starting point for future collaborations between the two entities.
López-Felip went on to describe the club’s particular vision in the field of sports analytics. “The traditional culture of sports analytics was centered on player performance and based on successful or unsuccessful plays" he said. "But the Team Sports Area at FC Barcelona is one of the few institutions that is researching a new kind of analytics, viewing the whole panorama of the team as a single unit and analyzing performance in context. The dynamic nature of team sports, like soccer, is impossible to understand with traditional sports analytics techniques. So the answer is not to view plays individually and out of context, but to analyze them in terms of coordinated movement and the complex systems involved in a game”.
“That’s why in future research of team sports, we want to discuss the nature of complex behaviors emerging from non-linear interactions between athletes and their surroundings”.