Big data and its impacts on the wider world are nothing new, with analysts, scientists, and marketing professionals long having used such information to break new ground in their respective fields.
This same trend has also been prevalent in the world of sports, although many sports fans are not entirely aware of exactly how big data analytics techniques are being used to alter many aspects of the sports they hold so dear.
Here we unravel just some of the ways in which US sport has been impacted by big data, so that the next time a head coach or general manager make a bizarre decision, fans will be better prepared, knowing that in all likelihood there were sound data-led reasons for the call.
Sports Betting Odds Shaped by Big Data
After a long period of not being adequately legislated for, sports betting is now taking off in the US, as lots of state legislatures begin to free up their regulations so that online sports betting providers can help sports fans be a part of the action.
Just some of the states where sports betting is already up and running include New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Nevada, although there are lots of others quickly following suit – realizing the benefits both for their state coffers as well as the entertainment value given to their population.
Big data is undoubtedly one of the main driving forces behind this sea change, as analytics are now allowing odds providers to monitor their clientele like never before. This means they can detect if a player needs help or assistance, allowing providers to ensure that everyone on their platform is betting safely and responsibly.
Of course, that is only part of the story, with massive data sets allowing providers to deliver odds, live streaming feeds, and even fantasy sports leagues all at the mere touch of a button or swipe of a mobile phone screen. According to oddschecker.com and others in the same industry, their customer sign-up numbers have gone through the roof in recent months. This is in no small part due to the incredible teams of people who scratch their heads as to how to harness data collected at top sporting events around the world. This information, collected on an almost hourly basis, is actively turned into the odds people see on their PCs and mobile devices.
Equipment Harnessed to Collect Precious Data
Another way in which data is impacting US sports is through altering the way in which sports equipment is designed and made. This has most recently become a major issue in the NHL, where the powers-that-be decided to insert computer chips into their official match day hockey pucks in order to collect data.
This was done because leagues and franchises are beginning to realize just how valuable such data can be, with them able to sell it on to everyone from odds makers to media and broadcast outlets.
Fans should expect plenty more advancements such as this as sports organizations continue to do everything possible to open up new lucrative revenue streams by mining data.
Coaching and Training Revolutionized
If there is one area of sports that has been completely revolutionized by the big data, it is the way in which top athletes are trained and coached. This is because coaching staff can now see into the future with the help of the numbers they get fed on a daily basis, covering everything from the calorie intakes of their charges, all the way through to how their injuries are healing.
Such personal data collection has been made possible by apps and wearable devices working together to deliver everything from heart-rates to step cadence and breathing patterns. Such data has made a huge impact on the way that elite athletes and teams prepare for games and an upcoming season, with some coaches even able to predict an injury before it happens. With such knowledge in hand, judgement calls can be made to protect a star player until the time is right.
The data manipulation techniques that were evident back in the day in Hollywood movies like Moneyball have now been taken to another level. This is evidenced in processes like the NFL Draft, where college stars are tested to their limits in physical challenges, during which every second of time taken, and every ounce of power output generated, is recorded to conclude which athletes deserve to be the top picks for that year.
Data sets are even more valuable to sports agents and scouts, who are now able to use numbers collected on players throughout a season to work out what the best moves are for their respective clients.
Of course, this approach is far from perfect because there are some things which cannot be quantified by data, such as the mindset of a certain player, their allegiances to one team or another, as well as whether their attitude will hold up when under pressure.
Indeed, people tasked with running pro sports teams are still in the process of trying to find the perfect mix of human testimony and data-led findings when it comes to drafting and signing new playing talent.
Viewing Experiences Changed Forever
Data has also impacted sport in the ways it can now be viewed by the public. Live streaming services are all the rage, with the likes of DAZN disrupting the industry by allowing people to tune into sporting events whenever, and wherever, they please.
Big data has played a huge part in making that a possibility, especially when it comes to streaming apps being able to personalize a user’s experience, and therefore keep them coming back for more and more bespoke content.