Big Data Analytics Recognized as a Game Changer in Sports Arena

What does the NHL, NBA, MLB, and NFL all have in common? Well aside from being professional sports leagues, they all love to tout statistics. Average points per game. Field goal percentage. Wins Above Replacement (WAR). These are just a few of many statistics you hear in the sports world, an arena that happens to thrive on numbers. Advancements in technology have given us the ability to analyze and interpret data on another level. As a result, sports leagues are increasingly relying on big data analytics to fuel decisions before and after the big game.

Advanced Scouting

Major League Baseball is one sports group taking full advantage of big data analytics. While opportunities exist for each team that uses it, General Manager Billy Beane is hoping it proves to be an effective means of landing premium talent for the Oakland Athletics. The A’s are using analytics as an advanced scouting tool that evaluates players based on the various actions they take on the field. Knowing things like how fast a player is on the first step and how they react in the outfield can help level the recruiting field for teams who don’t have budgets as big as the Yankees or Red Sox.

Guiding Coaching Decisions

Coaches at both the professional and collegiate level look for every advantage they can find. They’ve been using data for years, but even the oldest of old school generals are learning to appreciate how easy it has become to visualize data with analytics tools. Having the ability to size up scores of historical data may prove handy when determining when to double team specific players in the post and when to switch into zone coverage. Real-time insights can help coaches pull the right trigger when deciding whether to go for it on fourth and one, or attempt a 2-point conversion.

Fine-tuning Athletic Performance

The promise of big data analytics is being realized before the whistle even blows. More sports organizations are investing in technology that allows them to monitor individual athletes and literally lean from their bodies. For example, calories burned and speed gained in the weight room can produce

rich sets of data trainers can use to craft training programs that maximize results for athletes. Applications in this particular segment are being accelerated by numerous devices and apps that track athletic performance from virtually every movement.

Shaping the Sports Community

General managers, coaches, and trainers are not alone in their appreciation for data analytics – sports fanatics can get in on the action, too. Journalists, media personalities, and dedicated fans are harnessing the years of data accumulated from their favorite sorts to backup their opinionated theories with facts. Sites like Baseball Prospectus, The Hardball Times, and FanGraphs are among the go-to sources for sabermetrics enthusiasts with a personal or professional need to wow others with their extensive baseball knowledge.

The sports arena has been harnessing data as a decision-making tool for years. Advanced analytical capabilities have made putting those insights into action easier than ever. From fueling instant replay standards to guiding contract negotiations, analytics is driving change in a big way.

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