The CFL was looking to build their fan base in the youth demographic. With the advent of social media and fantasy sport leagues, the CFL was looking for a statistics engine that would report what was happening on the field as the game was being played.
Traditionally, pro sports sites are full of data that can seem meaningless to a more casual fan. The CFL wanted to make those figures visually stimulating to provide fans, serious and casual, with real time data that was meaningful.
SharpHat was asked to build a real-time statistics engine that would overhaul data gathering and allow coaches, the media and fans to view stats as the game is happening. In order to do this, a vast amount of planning took place. The task in front of us would take several hundred hours between database architecture, server infrastructure planning, user experience methodology and front-end design. With a tight deadline and the 2016 season approaching, SharpHat started the project that would eventually be “CFL Connect”.
“Our goals were to move from a more traditional approach into new areas of analytics, but to do that right from the data collection point out, in real time with our existing in-stadium personnel.”
• Director, Game Information & Statistics
SharpHat partnered with the CFL through every phase of the project life cycle, from requirements and strategy, through design, development, testing, training and support. The SharpHat team worked tirelessly to launch CFL Connect in time for the 2016 football season.
“When our fans have asked why we aren’t doing more in fantasy or why we’re not doing more in gaming in general, our [old] stats system quite frankly hasn’t allowed us to even consider that.”
• VP of Broadcast and Media Assets
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The new application titled “CFL Connect” launched during the 2016 pre-season. The reaction was nothing short of superb. Stat entry time had been sped up, live stats were delivered to the public as soon as they are entered. New technologies allowed us to provide instant updates on the front-end without the need to refresh your browser.
By utilizing Azure and AWS cloud servers we directly mirrored the data to a separate server for 3rd party API access without causing stress to the live database that compiled all the stats. Overall the platform revolutionized the data being captured and the way it is delivered to the public.
For years SharpHat maintained the CFL Connect project, from 2016 up through the 2022 season, when Genius Sports took over the application for the 2023 season.
“Working closely and interactively with us, they have created a system that is capable of replicating our statistical reports in an elegant way, and that will be the foundation of our game stats production indefinitely.”
• Director, Game Information & Statistics
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Steve Daniel – Director, Game Information & Statistics
The Canadian Football League embarked on an ambitious project in 2015 to replace our long-standing statistical information collection and reporting system. Our goals were to move from a more traditional approach into new areas of analytics, but to do that right from the data collection point out, in real time with our existing in-stadium personnel. The CFL needed an application developer that could adapt easily to our own brand of three-down football, and to our unique and complex statistical Rulebook. And do that in a way that allows us to maintain our priority objectives for speed and accuracy, and innovate even more in the future for the benefit of our management, clubs and especially our fans.
After a comprehensive search we found just that supplier in SharpHat. From the start of the project to implementation in our stadiums to start the 2016 CFL Season, their staff guided me toward ways that we would achieve these goals and then some. Working closely and interactively with us, they have created a system that is capable of replicating our statistical reports in an elegant way, and that will be the foundation of our game stats production indefinitely. Their staff was always open to questions and debate, and responsive to the inevitable tweaking that goes on in the final project stages to get calculations and reports just right. They created the sense that we had equal ownership in the final product and that what mattered was results.
In hindsight, my only regret in choosing SharpHat is that we didn’t find them sooner. In that way we would have derived the benefits from a system much earlier that now captures many more data points with a data entry process that is as simple as the game of football conducted at ultra high speed allows. I can’t imagine embarking on this project with another technology partner.