Pro Football Focus (PFF) – owned by US broadcaster and former professional footballer Cris Collinsworth – has sold a minority stake to Silver Lake private equity, as the data company plots an expansion into new markets including soccer-football. Cincinnati-based PFF already works with all 32 NFL teams, as well as many college football programs. Silver Lake reportedly paid $50m for the stake but the actual shareholding has not been disclosed.
The data service was initially created for coaches to analyze individual players and team performance. It details the actions of every athlete on every play, creating a database that can be mined to predict outcomes in various scenarios. As fans became more tech- and data- savvy, the company launched a consumer product, especially for fantasy football players and gamblers.
Silver Lake is also a minority investor in City Football Group, whose soccer-football clubs include Manchester City and New York City FC.