Sparx: Season 2, Episode 3

The future of football:
11 friends & AI

Andreas Heyden, Executive Vice President (EVP) Digital Innovations at the German Football League, illustrates how much the football brand has changed since the early days. And how artificial intelligence helps it to remain one of the most valuable media products in the world.

One billion football fans all over the world watch the games of the German Football League (DFL) – live and in 4K. This was not always the case. The first broadcasts took place when recordings were still made on film: Back then, motorbike couriers raced across the autobahn to the broadcasters after matches with rolls of film in their luggage to inform fans as quickly as possible about the outcome of the match.

A lot has changed since then. No wonder, says Andreas Heyden, EVP Digital Innovations at the DFL, because: "Sport has always been one of the main drivers of innovation." So it was only a matter of time before it also embraced artificial intelligence.

How did the German Football League get to the point where it uses AI to calculate players' individual goal-scoring chances? And what is behind the vision that soon everyone will get their own personalised football broadcast? In his "Sparx" talk, Heyden tells the story of the DFL – and how it will develop in the future.


Football, business and technology: Andreas Heyden's (*1973) profession combines all his passions. Heyden has been CEO of DFL Digital Sports GmbH for seven years, and since 2019 he has also been EVP Digital Innovations of the DFL Group. His mission: to drive forward digitalisation and innovation topics. His goal: to be as close to the fans as possible, while simultaneously strengthening the DFL as a media product.

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