How Data Analytics Has Revolutionized Sports
Sun, April 11, 2021

How Data Analytics Has Revolutionized Sports

In football, the Premier League is the most advanced in terms of data analytics, with Leicester City being the first to appoint its head of football analytics / Photo by: Jaroslav Moravcik via 123RF

 

Remember the time when Leicester City won the Premier League in 2016? Their victory was primarily attributed to data and analytics, said James Petter of TechRadar, an online trade publication. In football, the Premier League is the most advanced in terms of data analytics, with Leicester City being the first to appoint its head of football analytics. We are now seeing data being integrated into sports for the same reason it is being leveraged in enterprises so that they can stay innovative. 

Gathering and analyzing data in real-time during an event enables teams to make decisions on the spot. Moreover, data can also be used for long-term research and development of sports equipment and machineries like F1 vehicles and bicycles. But it is not only football that is revolutionized by analytics and other technologies. In fact, technological advances impact sports across the board, ranging from tennis to cycling.

 

Sports Analytics 

The sports analytics market was valued at $0.72 billion in 2019 and is projected to reach $3.51 billion by 2025 at a CAGR of 30% during the forecast period 2020-2025, according to Mordor Intelligence, a market research platform. Sports analytics leverages tools to help assess a player’s fitness as well as team performance. It also offers tools on competitive analysis, social media, and business analytics. This has resulted in the development of sophisticated tools to determine the outcome of an event and predict results, win-loss records, and even the opponent’s capabilities and weaknesses.  

Football has the largest share in the sports analytics market, which is due to increased attendance to games in the UEFA Champions League, MLS, EPL, and ISL. An increase of 1.5% year-on-year was seen in spectator numbers at domestic and European games, with more than 170 million people attending the games from 2015 to 2016, as revealed by European football’s governing body UEFA.  

The Role of Data Analytics in Sports 

1. Help Teams Win More Games

The Oakland Athletics could thank the role of data analysis as general manager Billy Beane helped the team get into the playoffs on a shoestring budget by leveraging in-game statistics to determine undervalued players, wrote Abhas Ricky of business news platform Forbes. Now, the use of analytics software has advanced and is utilized to electronically watch videos of teams across multiple baseball games.

An automated video analysis also helped ailing UK football team Lincoln City to reach the top of the league. In basketball, RSPCT, a shot-tracking technology, uses an Intel RealSense 3D depth camera to track and analyze every shot, including its location and trajectory. Combined with Kinexon’s wearable wristband technology, coaches can get a full end-to-end understanding of their players’ performance, wellness, and position on the court. 

2. Enhance Performance 

Almost all motorsports’ race cars are equipped with a device that allows engineers, technicians, and drivers to evaluate and understand driver behavior and interaction. This enables them to accurately adjust strategies to enhance overall performance. To illustrate, the Mercedes AMG-Petronas Formula One Team has become one of the most successful teams in F1 owing to the team’s portable infrastructure that accommodates both multidisciplinary and engineering requirements. 

Pure Storage eliminates the need to bring bulky equipment, thereby enhancing performance and enabling the team to put “performance-critical workloads trackside.” Team members at the trackside and at the factory have access to this data to improve car performance, ensuring functionality on and off the race. 

An automated video analysis also helped ailing UK football team Lincoln City to reach the top of the league. In basketball, RSPCT, a shot-tracking technology, uses an Intel RealSense 3D depth camera to track and analyze every shot, including its location and trajectory / Photo by: Sergey Nivens via 123RF

 

3. Foster Customer Engagement 

Sports organizations can identify patterns in digital engagement, such as online sports viewing, to determine what and when fans are watching via app logins and online video views. Sports organizations are also creating more immersive experiences with AR. Moreover, they can extract sentiment from social media streams to understand their fans’ thoughts, utilizing data analytics to engage with them via social media. 

With new technologies, social media has been proven time and again to be a great marketing ground for university teams to engage with millennials, marketing tickets through data-driven campaigns. Data from customer engagement transcends into the stadium, where teams can use electronic tickets, fingerprint, or retinal scans to analyze fan movements. For example, the New England Patriots monitor data from what fans purchase at the pro shop to when they buy tickets. Combined with the help of Kraft Analytics Group, they can predict ticket practicing, staffing, and the like on game day. 

4. Analyzing a Fan’s Broader Behavior

Did you know that analytics can help teams sell more beer and enhance parking lot congestion at stadiums? By communicating and working with other stakeholders like telecommunications firms, payment providers, and retailers, sports teams can better understand fan behavior before they arrive at the stadium and after they leave. This can help them deliver targeted messages related to games and special deals and offer crowd control data for municipalities. 

5. Optimizing Negotiations

As a massive business, sports are grounded on partnerships that revolve around sponsorship, advertising, player trading, and more. In the past, negotiations between teams involve giving up a substantial amount of margin as they did not have much information. Now, sports teams can optimize negotiations and save millions, thanks to valuable data from sports analytics systems. 

Sports analytics will continue to play an even bigger role in games. With wearables and platforms, teams and organizations can optimize processes and analyze fan behavior. Most of all, data is critical to becoming victorious in games.