Sport and data have been connected over the centuries—giving us a means of telling how high, how far or how fast our heroes perform. With the spread of technology deeper into sport in recent years, data has become increasingly central to how sport economies work, allowing us to measure athletes’ capabilities, analyze minute movements, and classify every element of every action, breaking often fluid movement of individuals and teams into formulae to be parsed, understood and optimized. As a global game, football is now at the forefront of this technological immersion, and we increasingly see it through the lens of objective knowledge.

In Winning Formula, we investigate this evolution through narrative and design fiction, highlighting the implications of this intensifying relationship between data and football. The project touches on more easily seen aspects of performance analytics, and new ways to depict and consume football in media, but also explores near-future possibilities hiding just below the surface, such as data manipulation as a kind of doping, the impacts of high-frequency sport betting, or politics related to data-based services like media, measurement and reporting.

The results of our exploration can be experienced through several tools: a large-scale illustration mapping the complex web of production and consumption of data in football, videos and interactive application to demonstrating emerging capabilities of joining data and media, and a fictional newspaper that comes to you from 2018, putting a possible day in the future of data and sport in your hands.

Winning formula was presented at the 2014 FutureEverything Festival. It is a Near Future Laboratory project commissioned and produced by FutureEverything, National Football Museum, Centre for Contemporary Culture Barcelona – CCCB, and Fundación Telefónica. Supported by ECAS, a European Commission Culture Fund project and MEDIAPRO.