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Winning may not be everything but sports data certainly helps

"The global sports arena has experienced enhanced success by adopting the use of modern techniques to adapt to and keep up with a data-driven world," writes Omri Orgad of Bright Data

Omri Orgad 18:4608.08.21

As data continues to boost real-time management and performance across all industries, the need for data analysis is increasing in professional sports. In fact, the market for sports analytics is expected to reach almost $4 billion by 2022. Today, professional sports teams as well as athletes and coaches are looking for an extra competitive edge, which data provides.


Gone are the days of old-school metrics; today, real-time big data metrics guide and help teams win. For example, throughout the Olympics, the athlete or team you cheered on had calculated and analyzed plenty of data points beforehand to deliver the particular performance they did. And the broadcast that delivered it to you had collected lots of public web data that reflected viewer sentiments to keep you glued to the broadcast.


Omrid Orgad. Tamara Berlski Omrid Orgad. Tamara Berlski


Data and Championships

Here’s another example: Remember the Oakland Athletics, the MLB baseball team that inspired the feature film Moneyball with Brad Pitt? This movie is based on real events involving a baseball coach from a cash-strapped club that used data to hire talented but undervalued players in the hopes of winning the World Series championship; the movie clearly showcased the power of using data when recruiting and building a winning team.


Today's advanced technology successfully reflects reality by providing almost-up-to-the-minute data. This helps professional athletes and/or teams win, especially because it improves player recruitment strategies and decisions. While talented players are important for winning championships and sponsorships, talent, alone, is not the only important factor. Modern professional sports franchises understand that athletic performance is also based on other considerations, which is why they use data tools to recruit the right players to lead them to victory. Furthermore, analyzing historical public web data allows teams to only learn from players' moves and come up with better ones.

How does data affect the fan experience of watching sports' broadcasts?

Sports organizations can detect patterns in digital engagement, including web sports viewing, reviews, public social media streams, public posts in reaction to a match, and more. Therefore, they can understand what and when fans are watching, and their likes and dislikes, simply by analyzing public web data from a certain moment onward. Consequently, all sports organizations are focused on creating more immersive experiences using innovative

technologies, like augmented reality, and more.


Data-driven experiences have proven to attract more sport fans and keep them engaged. New data-focused technology allows teams, such as the New England Patriots, to track data, ranging from what fans buy at the pro shop and when they buy tickets to parking lot images and game visuals. By crunching these numbers, decision-makers can predict everything from ticket an hotdog pricing to game-day staffing. Using such data, and web-based data specifically, can present a great opportunity in mapping fans' behavior inside and outside the stadiums – especially today, when stadiums have not returned to full capacity. Data can also prompt small scheduling or location changes, which can make a big difference.


Data's increasing influence on professional sports

Coaches can predict and plan strategies using data. In fact, data-driven strategies have resulted in trophies for teams in some major international tournaments, like the English Premier League and UEFA Champions League. The global sports arena has experienced enhanced success by adopting the use of modern techniques to adapt to and keep up with a data-driven world. While winning may not be everything, data certainly helps bring it closer within reach.


The writer works at Bright Data, an industry-leading public web data collection platform, serving thousands of customers, including Fortune500 companies worldwide