By: Nathaniel Tok, Peak Associate

 

Jamie Tatsubana is an SFU SIAT alumnus who created FootyStats, a soccer analytics website startup which uses data to help fans and fantasy soccer players analyze games and predict results.

     The website was founded two years ago after Tatsubana finished an internship at Electronic Arts (EA Games). In an interview with The Peak, Tatsubana said that at EA he “got really into soccer and [. . .] really felt the passion.”

     He channeled that passion into the startup. FootyStats provides a range of soccer data, from clear sheet percentages to the number of red cards a team may have.

     The site gets millions of views each month from fans in 200 countries, with the site covering 320 leagues from 100 countries. The site is also a resource for Oracle, a multinational database and cloud computing company, which uses FootyStats’ data to make data visualizations. Sport.ru, a popular sporting website in Russia, uses FootyStats’ data to analyze Russian league teams.

     FootyStats has been busy during this World Cup. During the tournament, Tatsubana’s website showed how each national team played in their last 10 matches. Based on this, FootyStats assigned each team a performance number, which helped predict matches and, according to Tatsubana, “many of the matches during the World Cup turned out to be correctly predicted.”

     When The Peak asked for FootyStats’ prediction for the World Cup champions this year, Tatsubana replied, “Based on our stats. It’s a good tie between Belgium and Brazil.”

     “Brazil defences very well. [sic] Belgium is more volatile, Belgium scores more and concedes more goals. If Brazil can keep their defence up then Brazil is the bigger favourite here. I think it’s one of those teams.”

     When asked why prominent teams such as Spain and Germany were eliminated so quickly from this year’s World Cup tournament, Tatsubana replied that, according to his analysis,  “Spain actually didn’t have a very good run of games before the world cup. It’s draw win draw win draw win.

     “Same for Germany, they were doing poorly before the world cup. If could be compliancy, it could be aging squad. It could be a number of reasons.”

     FootyStats began with Tatsubana working from home by himself. “It takes a lot of time to start getting traction,” said Tatsubana. “I could easily have given up before [FootyStats] became a viable business.”

     Shortly after beginning his project, Tatsubana got in touch with SFU’s Coast Capital Savings Venture Connection which gave him space to work on his company. Dave Thomas, a mentor from the SFU’s Venture Connection, also worked with Tatsubana and advised him on how to run a startup.

     Tatsubana also notes that while he taught himself programming and design, much of it was inspired by work done by his colleagues at EA and Namco.

     Tatsubana believes that using data to analyze soccer is essential.

“There’s a lot of pundits, a lot of social media influence saying this saying that. You should filter those out and look at the data which is hard reality and come up with your own individual thought. [sic]” – Jamie Tatsubana, founder of FootyStats

     FootyStats thus allows fans to focus on the objective data and to come up with their own ideas rather than listening to someone’s opinion.

     Tatsubana eventually hopes the website will feature new languages, including Swedish, Brazilian Portuguese, German, and French. According to Tatsubana, those regions “are a big source of visitors for [FootyStats] so we want to serve them better.”

     Tatsubana also wants his site to have Chinese and Japanese languages to reflect his upbringing in China and Japan. This reflects Tatsubana’s principles of listening to his customers and “providing good value to them.” Tatsubana is also looking into expanding into basketball and tennis stats in the future.

     For now, Tatsubana wants to enjoy the World Cup and the success of FootyStats. “I started FootyStats at 24, I’m 26 now and I’m very happy [with] where it is now.”