How is big data analytics changing sports?

big data analytics

Everybody loves to watch sports with detailed and insightful commentary. Have we ever stopped to think, though, about how broadcasters and athletes make sports so compelling for us insatiable viewers?

Behind the scenes, today, big data is playing a major role in making these events more competitive and engaging for audiences.

This is not necessarily a new concept. The early 1990s, in fact, saw the introduction of data analytics to the sports industry. Since then, everyone, from amateur athletes to the big leagues, has used it to enhance athletic performance, audience engagement, and marketing and branding strategies

It has become so popular that the sports data analytics industry is estimated to grow to a whopping value of $4 billion by the end of 2022.

In this post, we take a closer look at why big data analytics became so popular and how it is changing the sports industry—forever.

It helps coaches make more insight-driven recruitment decisions

Player recruitment is an important process for any professional sporting team. At the end of the day, while talented players are important when winning championships and sponsorships, talent, alone, is not the only important factor. 

Other considerations play a role when it comes to athletic performance.

Modern sports franchises have understood this and are using data analytics tools to recruit the right players for their team culture.

The most famous example of this is played out in the movie, Moneyball. It is a movie based on real events involving a baseball coach from a cash-strapped club who uses data to hire talented, but undervalued players, in the hopes of winning the championship.

Since then, sports like soccer, cricket, football and basketball have adopted these techniques with great success. It has now become the de-facto method of recruiting players.

Big data analytics helps broadcasters create a better viewing experience

Anyone who has followed any sport for a considerable period will know how sports broadcasting has evolved over the years. 

Sports commentary, for example, has evolved from just calling the play to educating viewers with stats and facts to make the viewing experience more compelling.

Broadcasters now even employ stats gurus to provide more information for viewers to understand the context of any performance. 

Even simple graphical elements now carry important contextual information to help the viewer understand the importance of each event; all of which is made possible with big data analytics.

Big data is helping us create better sporting strategies

Strategising is an integral part of any sport, be it an individual or team sport. Professional athletes and teams are dependent on these strategies to compete and win against their rivals.

Modern coaching makes use of big data sets to create winning strategies to help individual athletes and the team as a whole. Data science allows coaches of professional teams, in particular, to create hyper-personalised athlete matchups and other strategies for every match the team plays. This way the team’s tactics are left unpredictable yet effective.

One good example is Liverpool FC’s use of data science to dominate opponents in the recent Premier League and Champions League. Liverpool’s coach used data science to change the outcome of the games as they were being played to great effect—they’re, after all, the winners of last year’s Premier League. 

It has become easier to boost fan engagement with fantasy sports

Broadcasters and sports officials have always looked to increase fan engagement in a bid to increase revenue. Big data has given them a new tool to do both.

Fantasy sports have become a quick and profitable way to increase fan engagement across any sport. They essentially allow any participant to build their virtual professional franchise based on real athletes. Fantasy football, alone, accounts for 25 million active participants, mostly from the US.

Many fantasy sports leagues are designed around big data analytics to help participants build an all-round fantasy team. According to a study done by Intel, 75% of fans wanted detailed real-time data to create better fantasy teams.

Join the big data analytics revolution to make sports more competitive and compelling

Big data has improved many industries over the last few years, and is no stranger to the sporting field. It has helped athletes enhance their performance, broadcasters their fan engagement, and coaches their gameplay tactics. Marketing data analytics plays a huge role in this process too.

Dive into data analytics to find out how you can transform sporting events and athletic performance with a handful of invaluable insights.

Big data analytics play a major role in not just the world of sports, but the business world as well. With our Selerity analytics desktop, you can have a SAS pro-analytics environment at your fingertips for all your data analysis needs. Speak to us today for more details.


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