We live in a world where digitalization has taken a lead role and where technology has advanced by leaps and bounds. And FTN Data has worked hard to stay on top of the trending technology. Yogonet held an exclusive interview with Stefano Vaccarino, Network Chief Marketing Officer of the company that specializes in delivering extraordinarily detailed and accurate football data with short turnaround times upon game completion, who shared insights into the company's offering and the advantages it provides, and its projections for the rest of the year.
FTN Data has been delivering detailed football data for betting and fantasy for over 20 years now – quite an experienced team. What does the company’s current product proposition offer, and how has it adapted to changes in the industry?
When we started FTN in 2020 after acquiring ArmChair Analysis, we wanted to be the most affordable and reliable sports data company for big and small businesses. This has always been our guiding light in business and our first consideration when developing new offerings within FTNData.com.
If you’re a startup with a limited budget and just need a few basics like year-to-year statistics, game logs, etc., we can take care of you. If you’re a top-of-the-line sportsbook, like Caesars Sportsbook, and need a whole suite of data and tools to power everything going on, we can take care of you.
We’re not only offering our data, insights, and tools to businesses, but the everyday consumer can benefit from our products on FTNFantasy.com, FTNDaily.com, and FTNBets.com too. It doesn’t matter if you’re a first-time bettor or a well-seasoned fantasy player. We’re there for any fan looking for a leg up.
FTN collects its own data, not relying on another source. What advantages and challenges does this entail, and what sets FTN’s data collection apart? FTN offers its data with short turnaround times upon game completion. How is this achieved?
With other data providers, you might be stiff-armed into a box and limited to using data in only the specific way the provider intends. Since we collect our own data, we’re able to use it and distribute it however we please.
FTN’s mission is to provide customizable data sets and products for each individual customer or corporation. Our customers can then take the data, either through our state-of-the-art APIs or a downloadable CSV file, and apply it to match their goals. So, it’s our data, but their way.
We’ve worked to greatly improve how the data is accessed. This time spent refining this process has made it possible for more robust data requests. This process allows us to create unlimited possibilities in researching new metrics for our customers.
Another advantage is we use our data to power our FTN Bets, FTN Daily, and FTN Fantasy sites. These sites are the home of the premiere fantasy and betting content you can find, and it’s all powered by our own data.
This is all made possible by our staff. We have a tremendous staff of charters, people who are watching the game in real-time and collecting everything happening on the field. Their independent work and how quickly they input the data are why we’re able to convert raw data into insights our customers can use strategically in such a short period of time. Their work is the lifeblood of FTN.
In addition to traditional statistics, what proprietary data points does FTN bring to the table? What would you say are the current main requirements from the company’s partners in terms of data?
We have a plethora of proprietary tools and data sets, but I’ll tell you about our industry-leading NFL Splits Tool & NFL Pace & Play-calling tool. NFL Splits will show you a player’s true impact on their team and teammates. For example, if an offensive lineman is out a certain week, we will display how the team’s trends change (Do they run more? Do they pass more?) and what impact it has on the running backs. If a wide receiver is out, this tool shows where this missing player’s targets get distributed to.
Our NFL Pace & Play-calling tool also shows team trends based on situations. We will know what percent of the time a team runs or passes at precise moments in any game with any score. An example would be if the Chiefs are up 14 points against the Bengals with 10 minutes left in the 3rd quarter; we can give exact percentages if the Chiefs will run or pass, who will get the ball, and how much time they take to run plays, etc.
We’ve built all our tools with ease and convenience in mind so they can be filtered based on common betting conditions (such as spread, over/under, and home/away) to make navigation as simple as possible. We’re really proud to offer these tools at a fantastic price point, which is one of the main requirements of our partners. Other data providers charge an exorbitant amount for their services, which leaves customers stuck with rigid data sets that aren’t flexible enough to fit their needs.
While NFL data collection was the first step for FTN, are there plans to spread into more sports? If so, which ones, and are there timelines set for launch? Would it be a challenge to adapt FTN’s data collection to sports that operate in very different ways from football?
Right now, our focus is on football, which is where our customers spend most of their time and what they have been asking most for, but FTN Data is absolutely planning to expand to all sports. The next sports we’re working on are NBA and PGA, which we are working on expanding with advanced charting.
We're excited about eventually building out our offering for those sports to be as robust as our NFL one and be a full-service sports data shop. NFL is by far the most complicated sport to chart, as there are so many intricacies that go into every play. We feel that because our process with the NFL is so streamlined, we will be able to replicate it across other sports.
FTN Data powers both start-ups and leading firms alike. Who are some of your current clients, and how has demand advanced as we see increased interest in sports betting? In which ways does the company’s offering adapt to the different requirements of its partners, and what does it offer in terms of customization?
Currently, we’re working with more than 50 different companies ranging from Caesars Sportsbook to Action Network to Pickswise to Spotlight Sports. We’ve also built strategic partnerships with other up-and-coming businesses in our space to help move our technology along and lift the industry.
We’re meant to be a one-stop shop for our customers. As I mentioned previously, customers can pay for exactly what they need and get exactly that. We’re not overselling them extra data that doesn’t fit their needs, making the customer's experience entirely customizable from start to finish.
Fantasy, sports betting, and sports data resources are scattered in different locations, while FTN Data works within FTN Network, which works as a one-stop shop that seeks to integrate these points. What are the synergies between FTN Data and other FTN products, and how does it work within the wider context of this network?
FTN Data’s biggest clients are FTN Fantasy, FTN Daily, and FTN Bets. The projections, tools, content, betting models, rankings, video, everything is powered and influenced by our own data.
If we are producing engaging content that is driving a larger audience, the data for that content is coming from FTN Data, which in turn drives more interest and can lead to sponsorship opportunities of that content to operators or advertisers. People interpret data differently as well, which creates engaging conversations around our content.
What should we expect from FTN Data in 2023 in terms of scaling its data proposition and licensing its data to other websites, sportsbooks, and pro teams? Any specific plans for the near future you could share?
FTN Data plans to launch NBA and PGA by the end of 2023. We are also expecting to almost double the number of charters on staff for this coming NFL season so we can deliver our advanced data to our clients by Monday. We are most excited about the multi-sport expansion and the potential to ingest and deliver live data feeds.