The surprising human-centric approach used by a Premier League team on the rise

The story of the 2022-23 season’s English Premier League football wasn’t Chelsea’s implosion or Haaland’s relentless quest for goals. I reckon it’s the tale of a team that were playing on their local athletics track a few years earlier. They also focus on some very unusual metrics.

For a long time, Brighton & Hove Albion’s only claim to fame was DJ & music producer Fatboy Slim being a fan.

Ten years ago, they were in the third division and their ‘stadium’ was a ramshackle athletics track owned by the local council. A few years previous, they nearly dropped out of professional football altogether.

Now, they’re in the Europa League alongside the likes of Liverpool and Ajax.

How so?

Their academy has uncovered of a bunch of great young players. Their iconoclastic Italian manager has taken the team’s possession-focused game to new heights. And the scouts know a sleeper hit when they find one (including a now World Cup winner).

But maybe the biggest driver of success is their command of data and intelligence. The data team is so strong that the biggest clubs in Europe use them as a benchmark.

There’s one player metric that jumped out at me. It’s not miles covered or Xg (expected goals).

Brighton’s data analysis includes measuring the volume of noise a crowd makes when a player moves forward with the ball.

If that’s not customer centricity, I don’t know what is.

[image: via Brighton & Hove Albion club website]

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