Meet Yulian Georgiev, a Regional Coordinator and Data Collector for IMG ARENA’s football games. Based in Bulgaria, discover what skills and qualities Yulian harnesses to maintain success in his role, and how he maintains precision through technology in every match. Read his interview below:
Could you please introduce yourself and share a bit about your background and experiences as a Data Collector and Regional Coordinator in Bulgaria?
My name is Yulian Georgiev. I am a Regional Coordinator and Data Collector in Bulgaria. Football has been a passion of mine since childhood. I was captivated by the magic of the beautiful game, particularly during the golden era of the Bulgarian national team and legends like Stoichkov and Berbatov. I studied football at the Sports Academy in Sofia and graduated as a licensed football coach. During my studies, I was also a football referee. About fifteen years ago, I started scouting for a different company, both at venues and through TV coverage. Discovering IMG Arena’s commitment to official data collection was a game-changer for me, aligning perfectly with my values.
As a Data Collector in Bulgaria, you have the opportunity to attend live games. What aspects of this role do you find most exciting and enjoyable?
There’s an unparalleled thrill in watching live matches. The diverse skill set of foreign players, especially those representing Bulgaria’s top clubs, adds a unique flavour to the games. High-intensity matches, with their twists and turns, are a spectacle I enjoy.
What inspired you to become a Data Collector, and how has this role allowed you to deepen your passion for sports?
It is the best way to combine the passion for football with work. I like every aspect of the game and work.
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?
Focus is one of the keys. By actively following the game and being mentally present in every moment, I anticipate potential outcomes. For instance, I often predict situations based on the flow of the game, positioning myself to capture data even before it unfolds. This proactive approach allows me to be a step ahead, ensuring that I don’t miss crucial moments.
The role of the referee is pivotal in football, and I closely observe their reactions and decisions. By aligning my anticipations with the referee’s calls, I ensure that my data collection is both accurate and timely. For example, when it comes to fouls and potential card situations, this method affords me a buffer—typically three to five seconds—between the occurrence of the foul and the referee’s official decision. This window allows me to record data without lagging behind the live action.
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?
The digital age has revolutionised data collection. Precision tools and software enable us to capture more and more data about the game, enhancing the viewing experience for fans. In essence, more comprehensive data translates to a richer experience for the audience.
Can you share a memorable or interesting moment you’ve experienced while collecting live data at a game in Bulgaria?
A recent match between Lokomotiv (Plovdiv) and their rivals at Heber Stadium was a rollercoaster. In the first half, seven goals were scored, ending with a 4:3 victory for Lokomotiv.
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?
Effective communication is essential to our operations. Whether it’s through regular calls, screen-sharing sessions, or face-to-face meetings, I prioritise open channels of communication with the team.
What advice would you give to someone starting in the role of a Data Collector? Are there any specific skills or qualities that are particularly important for success in this position?
Here are some insights and advice for those stepping into this:
Mental Fortitude: The role can be intense, especially during fast-paced or rival games. It is crucial to develop strong mental resilience, allowing you to remain calm, confident, and focused, even when faced with unexpected challenges.
Know the Game Inside Out: Familiarity with the sport you’re covering is foundational. This goes beyond just understanding the basic rules, you should go deeper.
Understand Company Protocols: Every organisation has its specific requirements and protocols. Familiarise yourself with these to ensure that your data collection aligns with company standards.
Continuous Learning: The sports industry is evolving, and so should your knowledge. Invest time in self-education and regularly engage in training sessions.
Stay Focused: During live games, maintaining focus is paramount, don’t become distracted from the task at hand.
Seek Support: Remember, you’re not alone in this journey. Your Game Day Supervisor and team are valuable resources. Don’t hesitate to reach out if you encounter challenges or uncertainties. Collaboration and teamwork often lead to the best solutions.
Passion and Enjoyment: Lastly, and perhaps most importantly, immerse yourself in the joy of the job. Your passion for the sport and the role will not only make the experience enjoyable but will also reflect on the quality of your work.
Are there any specific challenges that you face as a Data Collector in Bulgaria, and how do you overcome them to ensure accurate data collection?
I train scouts to understand their job and how to perform it in the best possible way to mitigate challenges.
Lastly, as a sports enthusiast, which upcoming sports events or tournaments in Bulgaria are you most looking forward to, and why?
I’m eagerly anticipating the table tennis tournament finals in Panagyurishte. Table tennis, often dubbed the “chess of reflex sports,” promises breathtaking moments.
Additionally, the badminton tournament finals in Sofia this October are on my radar. With smashes exceeding 500 km/h, it’s an event not to be missed!