What’s it like to recruit the next great soccer star? Find out in this data science escape room from SAS and SciSports


Have you ever dreamed of working for a professional sports organization? Do you play fantasy sports leagues and fantasize about owning a real team? Do you follow the news about player drafts and trades, and wish you could influence who your team picks?

Well, here’s your chance. The latest SAS Data Science Escape Room puts you closer to the action of sports recruiting than ever before – and it gives you the data and tools you need to succeed.

Together with SciSports, SAS has developed an entirely new concept that combines soccer analytics with escape rooms. Dana Hakman, a SAS Data Scientist, spoke to Giels Brouwer, Founder and Chief Innovation Officer at SciSports, about the coming world premiere of the very first SAS Data Science Soccer Escape Room at SAS Global Forum 2019.

soccer penalty kick with data about the kick

Why does the world need a soccer escape room?

Giels Brouwer: Data is continuously becoming more important in the day-to-day jobs of key decision-makers in sports. This escape room is a unique opportunity to introduce people to the role that data plays in the current soccer industry. It’s an easy and fun way to show people the added value of data in the process of recruiting new players.

Combining soccer and escape rooms has never been done before, can you tell us a little bit more about the story line?

Brouwer: Sure, here's the scenario: Escape room players are data scouts of the soccer club, Wescape Wonders. The star player Mick van Dijk has just announced that he will not be playing for the team next season. Their mission is to find a suitable replacement for the team before the transfer market closes. With just a couple of hours left in the transfer market, it promises to be a race against the clock.

And how will the players do this?

Brouwer: We have tried to capture the entire flow of the transfer period in the game, including the immense time pressure just before the market closes. Escape room players are put in the shoes of scouts of a professional club and need to find a new player by using SAS Visual Analytics, SAS Visual Investigator and SciSports Insight platform, using real data on professional soccer players.

Who is this escape room for?

Brouwer: This escape room is for every sports fan, with or without experience in data science. The goal is that everyone should be able to play this escape room, even if you do not have any SAS or SciSports knowledge. We recommend forming an escape room team with a mixture of skills; those teams are generally best at solving complex puzzles.

Are there any other parties involved in this production?

Brouwer: Yes, we are honored that David Sharpe, the youngest chairman in the English soccer history ever, is contributing to this project.

What’s next for the soccer escape room?

Brouwer: We already have a lot of interest from clubs to host this escape room to train their data analysts. The ultimate goal is to host the escape room in all leagues around the world to show analysts how to create more value for their clubs by using SAS and SciSports.

Get your teams ready. The Soccer Data Science Escape Room will premiere as one of the three escape room experiences at SAS Global Forum 2019, April 29 - May 1, in Dallas, Texas – the other two rooms will center on wildlife and cyber attacks. SAS Global Forum attendees can pre-register for the SAS Data Science Escape Rooms. Visit the SAS Global Forum travel site or see your attendee emails for the registration process. Registration is also available onsite.

Many thanks to Dana Hakman for her work on this escape room. Learn more about her escape room philosophies in this post.

About Author

Janny Morsink

I'm a Marketing Project Manager with more than 25 years experience in advertising, marketing and communication. I've worked at SAS since June 2011 in different roles, and I enjoy the challenge of project managing multi-level conferences and designing new concepts. I believe in this quote by Joe Pine: “Only when it becomes memorable, it becomes an experience.”

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