Pusher At Football Hackday

On Saturday, we had the pleasure of sponsoring and attending the first ever Football Hack Day, hosted at Google Campus London and co-organized by X8. The aim was to build apps related to football.

Contestants were supplied with two match-data APIs, with information supplied by stats.com. The first was a HTTP API featuring the events, team lists, and statistics from the Premier League weekend of the 21st-22nd March 2015. The second API was a simulated realtime match-event API powered by Pusher that allowed users to run an awesome script that triggered match data as if it were happening in realtime.

We were thoroughly impressed by the fantastic hacks the attendees built on the day, as well as the immense amount of preparation the organizers put in to enable the hacks to be built.

The Hacks

Each of the hacks presented at the end of the day was full of invention and was something we would love to use every matchday.

Given the time pressures, a couple of teams unfortunately couldn’t finish their applications – but, due to the inventiveness of their ideas, deserve special mentions.

The Stadium Project presented a prototyped concept where, using augmented reality, users could view the pitch through their mobiles and statistics pertaining to that section would appear. For example, a player’s name, how much he has run, his pass completion, and so on. A very ambitious idea – but not impossible by any means!

Similarly, Tempo presented a prototype with a slick UI. The idea was simple but great: the app was to to predict how a player was going to perform based on his history. Both Tempo and The Stadium Projects showed a lot of promise and hopefully we’ll get to see them built soon!

The team behind The East Stand managed to build an application that aggregates uploaded videos filmed by fans at football matches. It attempted to solve an issue where users currently have to go to many sites in order to see recent videos relating to the game. The East Stand‘s solution was to combine all these to create one go-to site for football-lovers.

The theme of aggregating data was also present in the project by the team One Laptop Army. They used the Pusher stream of match events with realtime Twitter data to create a feed of live reactions to a football game. While they did not have time to implement the Twitter feed, they had incoming placeholders to simulate tweets, making for a nice user experience. That said, they had a pretty sweet feature where users could receive text updates via Twilio using the Pusher match feed.

There were a couple of hacks that were built for the fans’ in-stadium experience. 12th man was an Android app that shows an instant feed of what people were chanting in a stadium. Although their system to allow fans to vote for the next chant using Pusher was yet to be implemented, they managed to build a useful chat feature. It was a cool idea that aimed to create a new and unique match-day experience for fans.

And the winner is…

The winner of the overall prize and best concept went to Ref’s Mate, build by Ricky Dunn, Matt Sutherland and Greg Smart. It was incredibly impressive: complementary apps on the iPhone and iWatch that allowed the referee to input his decisions during the match; for example, a player scoring a goal, getting cautioned, or getting sent off. It also allowed him to ask for his assistants’ opinions and for them to exchange messages about a certain event in the match. As you can see from the picture below, it had an awesome UI that was suited both to mobile and to wearable.

Ref's Mate
Ref’s Mate

We awarded the prize for the best use of Pusher to Be The Ref, a team comprised of Darren Curnow, Mark Davidson, Maya Avidov and Omkar Vedpathak. It was an awesome fantasy football game that allowed you to bet against a friend on different events happening over the course of the game, using our live feed of match events. If the user got the bets right, he could earn yellow or red cards to use on a friend. If they receive a yellow or red card, they lose points, while the user gains points. Whoever has the highest by the end of the match, wins. It looked like a fun game that was a cool demonstration of what realtime data could do.

Be the Ref
Be The Ref


Thank you to all those who attended the first ever football hack, and in particular to the organizers who put on such a great day. The atmosphere was fantastic, as was the food and – not to mention – the Subbuteo tournament around lunchtime. Everything was very well organized, and a great deal of effort was put in to building the APIs that allowed attendees to consume such a rich set of data that they otherwise may not have had access to.

So, thanks again to all those involved and everybody who made it such a unique event to be a part of!

The cover image and image of Refs Mate are courtesy of Football Hack Day. The image of Be The Ref is courtesy of Cristina Trenas.

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