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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Analytics and big data have potential in many industries, but they are on the cusp of scoring major points in sports. From coaches and players to front offices and businesses, sports analytics can make a difference in scoring touchdowns, signing contracts, preventing injuries and increased fan and sponsorship engagement.
Globally, the professional sports market is worth over $90 billion, and this offers a big opportunity for big data. Data gleaned from sports analytics can be shared and used on an extremely granular level, enhancing the experience of professional sports for all parties involved. Instead of relying on intuition, experience, and anecdotes, sports participants and enthusiasts can examine data that tells the real story to help with every aspect of the game – from player improvement to fan engagement.
Read on to see how sports analytics has changed your favourite sports for the better.
Wearable technology as the gateway to real-time accurate data
Wearables can help monitor players on the field and are becoming increasingly advanced as time goes on, even becoming integrated into players’ uniforms. Coaches can already check on players’ fatigue and hydration levels. As these devices become smarter, player safety and performance will also be tracked, analysed and improved.
Players at all levels now wear Electronic Performance and Tracking System (EPTS) devices incorporating technologies such as GPS, magnetometers, gyroscopes, and accelerometers. Some systems can measure 1,000+ data points per second, recording speed, power, body temperature, heart rate, distance covered and other key performance stats.
Imagine you’re a point guard and you’ve just stepped off the court. Your team has lost. You could look at it as a failure and call it a day – or you could look at it as an opportunity to improve. How? Embedded in your jersey are sensors that have tracked your every move, and the data contained within them will help you make the next game different.
With wearable technology, you are able to asses and monitor every granular development on the field, process data in real-time to optimise training regimes, recruit new players, reduce injuries, or even enhance the fan experience. Many semi-pro and amateur teams will follow in hot pursuit.
Increased fan engagement through sports analytics
Analytics in sports, specifically fan engagement analytics, could enhance the live game experience and maintain fan and sponsor participation
They can advance the sports fans’ experience as teams and ticket vendors compete with the at-home experience—the better they know their fans, the better they can cater to them. Today’s sports fans are coming into stadiums with smartphones that are changing the in-person experience. Fans expect technology to enhance game days. And in response, the organisers of major sporting events and owners of sporting venues are turning to the new cloud, mobile and analytics technologies to deliver a greater fan experience.
Data from fans will continue to influence marketing efforts and decisions about sporting events, such as when to schedule games and how to cater to fan preferences.
Sports analytics gives your team the competitive edge
In the ultra-competitive Olympics, where training is a full-time job, athletes are looking for any edge they can get along the way. Coaches are beginning to collect training data on young athletes, hoping to gain some insight into what makes top athletes succeed in the Olympics, and which factors play the biggest role. This data is also helping Olympic competitors learn more about the challenges they face during training, such as the clash between strength training and endurance training for rowers.
Data can help coaches and players make more-informed decisions that could decide the outcome of a game. Coaches can select the best players, field the most effective teams and make smarter decisions on the field or court awarding the team with a competitive edge we all oh so crave in this day and age.
Data is now being collected in sports across the world to help guide teams to victory. Whether you’re a basketball fan based in the United States or a football fan in Europe or a rugby fan in Australia you can expect to see big data increasingly influencing this massive industry.
For now, we’ve only scratched the surface with uses of sports analytics and that’s the most exciting thing moving forward. Every bit of data that is being collected now could be of use in the future, with many applications still in their early stages. With the right data analytics platforms and analysts, the sporting world could be further fortified and will yield better results in every aspect.
For more information on how big data could change the very landscape of sports, visit our site.