How Big Data Is Helping Professional Sports

Big data has made its way across many different areas of industry, including the professional sports industry where the use of analytics is making a major change in how athletes and sports teams are preparing for games. The use of analytical data is not solely limited to being used as a development tool for individuals and team in terms of performance but is also in popular use by clubs and leagues as they assess the interaction between fans and their stars.


One of the most exciting aspects of the development of big data is the range of new jobs and employment opportunities developed at sports teams. In the past, positions such as physical therapy jobs were the best option for an individual seeking to join their heroes at a sports club, but these rolls have now been joined by statistical roles playing an important role in the development of sports for the future.


Coaches Find New Ways of Developing Their Players

In the past sports relied largely on the naked eye to make a decision about the performance of specific players and teams which have now been placed in the hands of a large analytical and statistical department analyzing every aspect of the performance of a player and team. In sports such as soccer and football, players are not permitted to wear GPS devices during games but they have become standard during practice games and sessions to make sure every area of a performance is monitored from distance run to the number of successful and unsuccessful passes made; The use of big data has been accepted by English Premier League team Arsenal in such a major way the club has invested in an increased number of employees in this area. A similar enlargement has been seen in the statistical department of the Dallas Mavericks NBA franchise, the team believes this will improve the quality of their on court performances. Along with the increase in members of the analytical team at Arsenal, the club has also installed eight cameras around their Emirates Stadium home to allow every aspect of the movement and performance of players to be tracked throughout each home game.


Open to all but mainly to the richest sports

The use of big data has trickled down to the performance analysis provided for those choosing to run or walk for fitness and use mobile devices to track their distance, time, and other performance related statistics is available for all. Major sports teams and coaches have been working with analytical teams and software for a number of years with many of the world's best-known soccer coaches leading the movement towards a technologically advanced form of coaching. One of the leading exponents of technology and big data is the Newcastle United and former Real Madrid soccer coach, Rafa Benitez. Not only does Benitez use GPS and heart monitors during training sessions to track his player's fitness levels, he also makes use of Opta and Prozone statistics along with the development of his own Globall Coach software to track the formations and data of major soccer teams. Despite the success seen in big data some coaches and statistical staff do fear information can be misread to prove the ideas and thoughts of a coach or statistician.


Big Data Impacts Every Aspect Of A Team

Almost every aspect of a team and club can be affected by the growing use of big data including the interaction of a club with its fans to make sure the social media interactions of fans and club reveal the impact on each spectator. The motorsport NASCAR group has recently been working with the HP brand to ensure every aspect of the social media presence of the championship is monitored during a race when more than one million social media comments are posted; NASCAR believes this will provide a range of improvements for teams, drivers, and the sport as a whole by allowing a better level of understanding to be created of the thoughts of fans.

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Carol M. Evenson

Data Security Consultant at Evenson Corporate Consulting
Carol Evenson is a data security consultant specializing in cloud management and process analysis. She currently assists organizations within the continental US and UK.
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About Carol M. Evenson

Carol Evenson is a data security consultant specializing in cloud management and process analysis. She currently assists organizations within the continental US and UK.

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