Six Lessons on Data in Sport

Sport for Business hosted a Data in Sport discussion at yesterday’s Predict 2018 Conference at the RDS in Dublin.

Rob Hartnett was joined on stage by Grainne Barry, Regional EMEA Director of US giant Stats and Simon Long of The Sports Consultancy in London who work with many of the world leading venues, rights holders and sporting teams.

Here are six points that emerged from the discussion

It’s all about the edge

The analysis of sporting performance through numbers has always been there but technology is allowing for greater depth of data to be generated, analysed and reported in real time. Doing what can be done to get that tiny edge over a competitor is an essential part of sporting preparation.

Slicing and Dicing highlights the critical moments

The NBA is now trialing purchase of live match streams of just the final quarter of NBA matches for micropayments of less than a dollar. This is being driven by data insights on what we as consumers and viewers are looking for rather than what sports or broadcasters think we do.

There will always be a human factor

The data can be taken in across multiple points but it will be interpreted and acted upon by different coaches and different players. It is predictive but it is not the only determinant and never will be.

The Scout will overtake Agents as the key to bringing in fresh talent

Data and predictive analytics will become an increasingly important element in the decision to bring in fresh talent. Multi-million investment in players will be de-risked by running historic numbers and sophisticated modeling on likely impact of new players on a team.

Data has raised the overall value of sport as a business

Data is effectively the new currency when it comes to the commercial value within sport. Organisations like Nike are using consumption of data to unlock value for consumers and correspondingly increasing the value of sponsorship in real terms.

Understanding of the numbers is changing the game

Analysis of the risk-reward ratio on three-pointers in basketball has led to a 50 percent increase in the number of points scored via the longer shot that was the case six years ago.

It was a fascinating discussion with two individuals that are right on the cutting edge when it comes to the impact of sport.



Image Credit: Kim Nielsen on Twitter at Predict 2018

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