Citus swirl

Sportradar’s Radar360 Powers Real-Time Sports Analytics Using the Citus Database

36X
faster than single-node Postgres
<1s
responses to ad-hoc queries

Delivering a lightning-fast data dashboard to teams and media

If you’re a hardcore sports fan and watch live games on TV or listen in on radio, you know how important stats are in telling the story. For professional commentators it’s absolutely critical that the stats and analysis is fed to them in the moment—in milliseconds and not seconds later. Imagine watching a game and only finding out after the fact that a historic record was broken or that a critical milestone was reached—it’s too late!

Now think about how quick and responsive the data analytics engine needs to be to enable that commentary. To get these key data points, leading media companies and professional sports teams rely on Sportradar. When an analyst needs to pull stats on the fly, it uses the Sportradar Radar360 dashboard. From every stat and score, to scenario-based analysis like who has the best passer rating when they are down by 3 with 2 minutes left in the game in their opponent’s red zone; can be pulled on the fly to match the live action and boost the entertainment value for the viewer.

Sportradar dashboard
Sportradar's Radar360 dashboard, powered by the Citus distributed database that scales out Postgres horizontally

To power the analytics dashboard, the Radar360 team needed a highly performant, scalable, and flexible database. They found this in Citus and couldn’t be happier. To learn more about how Sportradar solved its data scale and responsiveness problems, we chatted to Sportradar Head of Product Development, Michael Moser.

For Sportradar there are two kinds of customers. One kind are professional teams, that use the Radar360 dashboard to track player performance, evaluate up and coming matchups, and promote their team through their PR departments. They also use the powerful data analytics to strategize before games. The other kind are media outlets that broadcast live games. Especially for media, getting instant analytics matters.

Improving storytelling with sports analytics

Sportradar is not only a leader in sports data. They recognize how a product like Radar360 can enhance storytelling by bringing insightful analysis to the fans.

Redshift wasn’t the right fit for a real-time web based dashboard with ad-hoc queries that need to return in sub-second times. The upfront execution plan compile time for each new ad-hoc query was too slow/variable. Citus’ real-time execution did not have that overhead and allowed us to have scale, speed and dynamic ad-hoc queries.
Michael Moser, Head of Product Development, Sportradar

Selecting a database that provides sub-second responses for ad-hoc, dynamic queries

When Sportradar was investigating how to build the new Radar360 product, the most important criteria were ad-hoc dynamic queries, database speed, and scalability. To deliver a compelling fan experience today with sports analytics requires that insights be delivered in milliseconds.

When considering their database solution, Sportradar evaluated the Amazon Redshift data warehouse but “Redshift wasn’t the right fit for a real-time web based dashboard with ad-hoc queries that need to return in sub-second times. The upfront execution plan compile time for each new ad-hoc query was too slow/variable. Citus’ real-time execution did not have that overhead and allowed us to have scale, speed and dynamic ad-hoc queries.” Said Moser.

Citus proved to be the best choice for Sportradar to keep using PostgreSQL and also scale their engine with more data while allowing real-time analytics. This is why Citus’ sharding and parallelization ability was so attractive to Sportradar. During testing, the distributed Citus database cluster proved to be up to 36 times faster, compared to a single node running PostgreSQL.

In the future, Sportradar plans to increase the amount of data stored by 2-3X, with more historical data sets. Moreover, the future of sports strategy will rely on more statistics. Knowing this, Sportradar plans to add next-gen stats which generate information on chips placed on players. This will increase their data volumes even further, up to 10 times. Since Citus can scale horizontally as data grows by adding more hardware, Sportradar is confident about these exciting opportunities.

We’re in the storytelling business, not just the data business.
Michael Moser, Head of Product Development, Sportradar

Winning the game: faster time to market with the Citus database

Beyond being insanely fast, another huge benefit for Sportradar from using Citus has been the time to get to market. Radar360 was a brand-new product for the company, so it was important to choose a database that was quick to implement, that did not require large-scale application changes. The engineering team was also happy knowing they would always be on the most up to date version of PostgreSQL, since the Citus extension to Postgres isn’t a fork.

With the Citus database, Sportradar's Radar360 offering can provide world class analytics to the more than 40 sports it covers across the globe.

So the next time you’re watching a nail-biting game and see the stats pop up, remember Sportradar and Citus are making it happen.

Sportradar + Radar360 Story Highlights

sportradar.us/digital/radar360/

  • Citus gives Sportradar the right balance of ad-hoc dynamic queries, database speed, and scalability for the new Radar360 analytics product
  • During testing, a distributed Citus database cluster proved to be up to 36X faster compared to a single node running on PostgreSQL
  • Implementing Citus helped Radar360 speed up the time to market by not requiring large scale application changes

Redshift wasn’t the right fit for a real-time web based dashboard with ad-hoc queries that need to return in sub-second times. The upfront execution plan compile time for each new ad-hoc query was too slow/variable. Citus’ real-time execution did not have that overhead and allowed us to have scale, speed, and dynamic ad-hoc queries.

Michael Moser, Head of Product Development, Sportradar

About Sportradar and Radar360

Sportradar is a global leader in understanding and leveraging the power of sports data. From start-ups to enterprise accounts, Sportradar’s data powers some of the highest-trafficked media sites, fantasy sports apps, innovative brand activations, and sports analytics platforms. Sportradar’s Radar360 product provides compelling information as the game unfolds to today’s broadcasters and social content teams. Radar360’s combination of an intuitive interface with lightning-fast response times leads to the discovery of new storylines in a matter of seconds.

sportradar.us/digital/radar360/

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