The first edition of the soccer hackathon was won by Emesa. The e-commerce company, known for VakantieVeilingen.nl, proved to be the best at predicting the results of a match round in the English Premier League and won the coveted challenge cup. During the soccer hackathon, an initiative of The Analytics Lab and Cmotions, seven teams modeled fanatically on April 15 in order to make the fictitious budget of €1,000 work as well as possible.
As the weekend of play progressed, a clear leading group began to emerge. Prior to the final game on Monday night, it was a neck-and-neck race between the Inland Revenue and Emesa, with the result of Stoke City – Tottenham Hotspur to be decisive. Title contender ‘Spurs’ made no mistake, winning 0-4 and doing themselves a good service, as well as the Emesa team, who thus crowned themselves winners of the hackathon.
During the awards ceremony, Thomas Stalman (left in photo), Emesa’s proud captain, explained the winning tactic. With Cruijffian conviction, he explained the tactics with which Emesa had entered the fray and the “lineup” in which he had his team play. “There were three of us, so it was important to make a good division of labor. Therefore, one person focused on data preparation, while the other two were mainly involved with modeling and deployment,” Stalman said. “The data preparation we did with both R and SQL, for modeling we used randomForest models in R to predict whether a game would end in a win for the home or away team, or a draw.” Stalman pinpointed two crucial decisions as key to success: “First, given the relatively short time period, we chose to predict only home, draw or away and left out the handicaps (where one of the clubs starts with a fictitious 1-0 lead, ed.). This allowed us to fully focus on predicting the outcome of each match. In addition, we used all bookmaker data from the past 10 years as predictor variables to make our model perform better. This gave us the insights to place fact-based bets.”
The hunger for prizes has not yet been satisfied with winning the first soccer hackathon, states Thomas Stalman. “Play-to-win is one of Emesa’s core values. Where better to show that than at a hackathon? We were curious to see how our approach and techniques would do compared to the competition and are proud to have emerged as the winner. Of course we will participate again next time, I would like to wholeheartedly challenge all teams to beat us during the next edition.”
Due to the enthusiasm and fanaticism of both the organization and all participants, the first edition of the Football Hackathon by The Analytics Lab and Cmotions can be called a great success. The preparations for a next edition are, also thanks to the excellent input of the participants, already underway. If you have suggestions for a theme or other ideas, please contact The Analytics Lab. For information about a next hackathon, keep an eye on our website and social media channels!