Name: Dimitris Michalakakos
Job title: Regional Coordinator & Data Collector
Dimitris is a passionate sports enthusiast living in Athens, Greece. Starting off his career in Sports Journalism, Dimitris was drawn by his deep love of sports to become a data collector. Now with over 5 years experience, Dimitris is an excellent and experienced Regional Coordinator in Greece. He highlights the utmost importance of understanding the rules of the game, the willingness to seek assistance when uncertain, and the significant role of data protection and integrity in maintaining the company’s professionalism and reputation.
Welcome Dimitris, please could tell us a bit about yourself?
I’m Dimitris Michalakakos, I’m 34 years old and I live in Athens. I’m a former Sports Journalist who transitioned to Data Collection five years ago.
As a Data Collector in Greece, you have the opportunity to attend live games. What aspects of this role do you find most exciting and enjoyable?
When you collect data you get the opportunity to truly watch a match. There are no distractions. You are there to watch the match and deliver the data. By doing this you are able to appreciate the little things in a sports game. The details that you wouldn’t have noticed if you watched the match as a casual fan.
What inspired you to become a Data Collector, and how has this role allowed you to deepen your passion for sports?
Sports have always been a big part of my life so when a friend told me if I wanted to be a Data Collector the decision was easy. It definitely altered the way I’m watching sports. After 5+ years and hundreds of matches I feel that I understand Football, Basketball etc. a lot better.
Accuracy and attentiveness are crucial in data collection during fast-paced games. How do you ensure that you capture all the relevant information while maintaining the pace of the match?
As cliche as it may sound: I’m always 100% focused on the match. From the first to the final whistle. I block the background noise and ignore any distractions. I always try to predict what is going to happen and that makes my job a lot easier.
How has technology influenced the evolution of data collection in the sports industry? What impact has it had on enhancing the viewing experience for fans?
Technology changed the Sports Data Collection for the better. I still remember having to cover matches via a phone call and trust me it wasn’t a pleasant experience. In IMG Arena we are using an App that makes Data Collection easier and more accurate. You get a big screen with tons of options and full access to crucial information (match time, score, match status etc.).
This is also great for the fans since it elevates the viewing experience. In 2023 you can find any statistic about the match you are watching in a matter of seconds. Even if you are not watching a match you get enough information to completely understand what’s going on on the pitch.
Can you share a memorable or interesting moment you’ve experienced while collecting live data at a game in Greece?
The atmosphere at Peace and Friendship stadium was the highlight of the season. During each Euroleague match of Olympiacos BC the crowd was so loud that it was almost impossible to hear to other Data Collector. I won’t lie, it was amazing.
As a Regional Coordinator, you likely work closely with a team of Data Collectors. How do you ensure effective coordination and communication among team members?
As a RC I’m trying to be there for the Data Collectors every time they need something. Listening to their concerns, answering their questions and helping them as soon as something comes up are my top priorities. It’s crucial to keep the Data Collectors well-informed but at the same time you need to avoid ‘spamming’ them. Communication is the key and in order for it to be effective you have to know which information is important. At the end of the day we are a team with the same goal.
What advice would you give to someone starting out in the role of a Data Collector? Are there any specific skills or qualities that are particularly important for success in this position?
They have to love sports and be willing to work hard. It’s important to learn the rules of the sport they are interested in – even the ones that seem insignificant. IMG Arena gives you all the tools you need. A great and easy to use App, a bunch of training options and a website full of useful information about our procedures. Don’t worry if you don’t have any experience. Some of the best Greek Data Collectors have never worked as DC in the past, that says a lot!
Are there any specific challenges that you face as a Data Collector in Greece, and how do you overcome them to ensure accurate data collection?
There aren’t any major issues. Sure there are some minor inconveniences. For example the press areas in some venues are weirdly positioned. There is one stadium in particular that you can’t even see the whole pitch. You have to stand up several times per match (at least it’s good exercise). The frequent communication between IMG Arena and Superleague & Euroleague changed the landscape for the better.
Lastly, as a sports enthusiast, which upcoming sports events or tournaments in Greece are you most looking forward to, and why?
The next months are going to be pretty interesting. On August 16, Piraeus will host the UEFA Super Cup and in May 2024 Athens will host the Conference League Final. The last time UEFA chose Greece for a European Final was 16 years ago so it’s a big deal. I’m already searching for tickets.