A Long Way In Half A Decade...Sports Analytics Continues To Advance
Five years ago sports analytics was still thought of as a niche industry trolled by nerds looking to improve their ever-growing work in fantasy sports. However today, from the explosion and expansion of “Moneyball” to an ever growing demand for consumer content, the sports analytics pool is deeper and more diverse than ever and the field is continuing to grow.
Brands like Samsung and Verizon and SAP and Microsoft have started to use data analytics as a platform to enhance their sports marketing partnerships for the consumer and for their league partners, following a similar track that others like IBM have done in sports like tennis and golf for years. Hundreds of brands also partner with media companies like ESPN and Yahoo and Fox for fantasy-related promotions, especially in baseball and football but in sports like soccer and NASCAR as well.
As the U.S. consumer becomes more comfortable both in the mobile space and with second screen experiences, analytics will find an even larger spot in the conversation. This past fall Yahoo’s Rivals site, in partnership with Front Row Marketing, rolled out “Coaches Cabana,” a second screen experience where coaches like Barry Switzer provided insight into live games from a remote location, agnostic of whoever was covering the game. A host of live broadcasters have also began inserting enhanced analytics on to websites and apps as well to give the fans who want a deeper dive into the goings-on on the field the ability to do just that…get more video and much more enhanced breakdowns of what is occurring on the sidelines and in the huddles.
Whether it is through improved wireless service in arena being able to adequately service thousands of handheld devices equally to improve a fan experience, a crowdsourcing ability which enables teams to know the trends and tendencies instantaneously of who is sitting in a certain section, video game insertion where stats can be dropped in real time into the like of Madden or other mass-player video games, or in the way teams to their evaluation to make sure they are optimizing performance for their athletes.
On the player development side, SportVU, a product of Stats LLC is now being used by the NBA in every arena to collect data and enhance development, while Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban became the first team in the NBA to use a wrist device that will collect physical data from their players in order to measure optimum performance. The devices will tell staff when the players are sleeping, and for how long and how deeply they’re doing so. The collected data will quantify how fatigue from training, competing, travel, time-zone adjustments and other variables affect multiple aspects of game-day performance such as reaction time and readiness. The device, developed in Canada and called Readiband is expected to provide critical information on fatigue, and partnered with another Mavs-led initiative, using GPS tracking devices to record movement and measure workload levels could provide another elite glimpse into optimal performance techniques using high tech analytics.Continued on the next page