How Analytics Is Changing The Game Of Sports

No longer an add-on, data is now running sports


Analytics and big data have disrupted many industries, and now they are on the edge of scoring major points in sports. Over the past few years, the world of sports has experienced an explosion in the use of analytics. 

Up until a few years back, experience, gut feelings, and superstition have traditionally shaped the decision-making process in sports.

It began with Oakland Athletics' General Manager, Billy Beane, who applied analytics for selecting right players. This was the first high profile use of data analytics to aid decision-making in professional sports, and the results were impressive. 

Today, every major professional sports team either has an analytics department or an analytics expert on staff. From coaches and players to front offices and businesses, analytics can make a difference in scoring touchdowns, signing contracts, or preventing injuries.

Big name organizations such as the Chicago Cubs and the Golden State Warriors are realizing that this is the future of sports and that it is in their best interest to ride the wave while everyone else is trying to learn how to surf.

The Golden State Warriors have, like Beane's As, used big data sets to help owners and coaches recruit players and execute game plans.

SportVu has six cameras installed in the NBA arenas to track the movements of every player on the court and the basketball 25 times per second. The data collected provides a plethora of innovative statistics based on speed, distance, player separation, and ball possession to improve succeeding games.

Adidas miCoach app works by having players attach a wearable device to their jerseys. Data from the device shows the coach who the top performers are and who needs rest. It also provides real-time stats on each player, such as speed, heart rate and acceleration.

Patriots developed a mobile app called Patriots Game Day Live, available to anyone attending a game at Gillette Stadium. With this app, they are trying to predict the wants and needs of fans, special content to be delivered, in-seat concession ordering and bathroom wait times. provides insight into more than just baseball coverage. It has over 20 journalists crunching numbers for fans to gain a better understanding of an upcoming game, series, or season.

Motus’ new sleeves for tracking a pitcher’s throwing motion measures arm stress, speed, and shoulder rotation. The advanced data generated from this can positively affect a player’s health, performance, and by extension their career. Experts can now predict with greater confidence if and when a pitcher with a certain throwing style will get injured.

In the recent cricket world cup, every team had its own team of data analysts. They used various technologies like a Cloud Platform and visualizations to predict scores, player performance, player profiles, and more. Around 40 years’ worth of Cricket World Cup data is being mined to produce insights that enhance the viewer's experience.

Analytics 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.

This collection of data is also used for internet ads, which can help with the expansion and growth of your organization through social media platforms or websites.

- What would be the most profitable food served at the concession stand?

- What would be the best prices to sell game day tickets?

 -Determine which player on the team is the most productive?

- Which players in the draft will become all-stars, and which ones will be considered role players?

- Understand the fans behavior at the stadium via their app and push relevant information accordingly.

In this digital age, analytics is the present and the future of professional sports. Any team that does not apply them to the fullest is at a competitive disadvantage.



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