Data management, the title for the best business in Mexican soccer

The use of data science can not only be explained within a soccer field. Liga MX teams are beginning to look toward software tools to make business decisions. The data not only serves to improve performance in sports, it can also work as an ally of the entire management of an organization.

In the world there are many examples for Mexican soccer. The German national team has guided its path by relying on SAP software solutions (Systems, Applications, and Products, for its acronym in English). Since the 2014 World Cup in Brazil and the 2018 Russia World Cup, the German Football Association (DFB) has been applying technologies in the sports and management field. The same thing happened with the NBA, which less than a year ago moved data such as fan interaction initiatives or operational steps for the league’s international growth to an SAP cloud. The list of examples extends with teams from the NFL, MLB that have specialized in offering the best experience in their stadiums.

In sports terms, SAP already processes the data of America, Pumas and Santos Laguna, while CITEC (Technological Innovation Center), makes the tools to apply them available to the Mexican soccer leagues. However, the software is not suitable for bringing data science to business decisions, healthy club finances, obtaining additional income, among other actions.

“Mexican soccer is a market where we find teams with different levels of maturity. There are organizations that have become professional and sought references. The teams are in a very competitive industry and under pressure, in the sense that they need to capture resources, income and know how they can do it. The entries, the tickets, are limited to the year and they must look for other ways to generate money, grow, find the best investment places, ”Rosendo Pérez, Head of Innovation and Solutions, SAP Mexico, explains to this newspaper.

The software company processes the business data of Santos Laguna and two other teams in the league, which for reasons of confidentiality were not disclosed.

Alejandro Irraragorri, president of the Board of Directors of Grupo Orlegi and Dante Elizalde, president of the Santista club, confirmed to this medium less than a year ago that SAP deals with aspects from sports, administration and accounting.

The German company offers four types of business solutions to sports organizations, and the scope ranges from the operation of finances, organizational talent management services, real-time visibility of the clubs, ways to improve the relationship and experience with clients and amateurs, among other functions. The programs are titled: SAP S/4 HANA, SAP SuccessFactors, SAP¨Customer Experience, SAP Analytics Cloud.

Companies behind Mexican clubs such as FEMSA (Rayados), Televisa (America), Grupo Omnilife (Chivas), Cemex and Sinergia Deportiva (Tigres) already use SAP technology in managing their businesses.

“It seems complex because it hasn’t been fully explored in Mexican soccer, but you can start by incorporating things, like the NBA did, which went little by little and now works in three dimensions: the performance of the teams, to improve the fan experience and business management. The Mexican Soccer Federation (FMF) can do it because it has its own resources. This is how it worked in Germany beyond the fact that the clubs took the direction of the data. Several Mexican soccer teams would say that they are not sure if they are asked if they really know the profitability of the organization, their information on how much they spend or earn, or about the control of the entire business, from human resources, talent, training, the best people working, the financial health of the organization. The operation per se”, analyzes Rosendo Pérez.

It would take less than a year to see the results of data management in an operational aspect of a football club, comments the SAP manager, and in the most timely manner possible, he explains about the implementation, which is based above all on trust in the data to make decisions.

“It is difficult a priori to give figures to the clubs, what we do is go through levels of detail and a business case is developed where the potential for improvement, savings or additional income, benefits is noted. We make a diagnosis and together with the teams we decide which are the priority areas, the most urgent. We focus on the first nodules so that organizations see benefits as soon as possible, we are talking about months, three or four. It is an evolutionary process and one that teams require to deliver results in the short term.”

Identification of fans, a successful test

There are circumstantial cases in Mexican soccer that urgently demand results, one of them is to guarantee security in the stadiums. In this regard, the FMF and Liga MX have decided to request personal data and facial image from fans and process a FAN ID.

“Identifying the fans, SAP can do it, by name and surname, with privacy and data management, the consent of the fans, so that the organizations know their clients, it is one of the measures for the security of the stadiums . SAP has experience with facial recognition technology, images. Through this you can identify, for example, how many people are in a space to avoid crowds”, says Rosendo Pérez.

The SAP Arena for ice hockey and handball is an example. The 15,000-seat venue can attract up to a million visitors a year. Since 2016, all income began to be identified, asking for personal details such as amount of spending, most used social networks, origin and movement of the ticket, etc. The company developed a special system (POS) for fans to register for a single occasion to have access to the box office, merchandising, food at the seat, etc.

Soccer stadiums in Mexico can be seen full again, if they look at data management as a solution.

SAP tools specialized in business management:


To manage core business processes needed to operate: finance, supply chain, services, purchasing, among others.

SAP SuccessFactors

For all the management of organizational talent and the needs of its collaborators.

SAP¨Customer Experience

To improve the relationship and experience of its customers and fans.

SAP Analytics Cloud

To have real-time visibility of the entire organization.

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