The Data of Sports

Big Data has had a huge impact on the sports world in the last few years. From decisions being made on the field, to injury prevention and rehab, Big Data has helped shape the way athletes, coaches and fans participate in sports.

Coaches and General Managers utilize data and analytics in almost everything they do. Coaches now use data and analytics to determine the best players for different situations and scenarios that could alter the outcome of a game. We have also seen coaches use these advanced analytics to make critical decisions during game play. Decisions like going for a 2-point conversion instead of kicking the extra point, or going for it on 4th and 1 are now looked at in a much different way than they were even 5 years ago. General Managers, coaches and players alike use analytics in contract negotiations to dig up evidence that supports they demands they are making.

For years now, we have seen athletes using wearable devices for training, injury prevention and rehab and on the field performance. These trackers can provide real time stats on every player that include heart rate, acceleration and speed. In sports like football and hockey, where the chances of injury are high, the frequency of some injuries have been reduced due to wearable sensors. These sensors can record the impact of collision and various levels of intensity performing different activities. This data is then compared to historical data to help determine if a player is at a higher risk of injury or is at risk overextending themselves.

As fans, we have seen huge improvements in our experience due to the increase of available data and analytics while we are at the ballpark. Over the last few years, professional sports teams have increased their focus on providing a better fan experience that can compete with watching the game from the comfort of your couch. Teams now provide free stadium Wi-Fi allowing fans to access apps with live play by play, bathroom wait times, a tool for ordering concessions from your seat, access to what mic’d-up players are saying on the field and more.

Data is changing the way coaches, players and fans experience sports.  How is data impacting your business?