How sports analytics is helping professional players, teams, and coaches?
There was a time when sports teams, including those in the much-developed and technologically-savvy west, were skeptical, and, dare I say, scared, to embrace the use of data and analytics to help them in their quest to maintain their place at the top of the table/move up the ladder and reach the top of the mountain.
But today, no team, sport, or league handles their daily workings without a dedicated analyst, or a team of them in some instances. Big data in sport has grown and become such a massive part of the sporting lexicon today that it has laid the groundwork for the rise of new opportunities, both in academia and business.
For example, the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford University in Homewood, Alabama, is the United States’ first-ever sports analytics major. It sees students make use of big data to arrive at answers regarding aspects questions sports teams, like their audiences, how to engage them, and how to convert that engagement into real revenue opportunities?
This new field has impacted sports organizations not only on the field but off it too. It can in fact be argued that the latter poses a bigger benefit considering how commercial and monetarily-dependent professional sport has become today.
Big data and analytics help study a variety of factors, from team efficiency to performance stats to revenue-related pathways. These fields also help students come up with actionable insights regarding sports organizations, and how to prepare for the best and worst-case scenarios when it comes to running a professional setup that is aiming for the top prizes in its sport and under the scanner of a million eyes from around the world.
Any sport organization today has become a multi-faceted entity that is as much a brand as it is a group of people, both players and support staff alike, looking to perform to the best of their abilities on the pitch. It is not rocket science that in sport, positive performances and lifting trophies help make the off-field activities smoother. Money comes in as a result of success on-pitch, which in turn helps decide the direction the club takes off it.
This is where data and analytics become so crucial. It is basically linking these two aspects to create a harmonized ecosystem where the players are given the best of technological help to push themselves and perform to their true potential. In the background, plans are made using data tracking and trends in the market to define how the company will move forward.
But most importantly, analyzing helps the people in-charge set goals, both short-term and long-term. This is where those making the big decisions have already prepared a multitude of plans, one of which will take shape once the success on the pitch, whatever form that may come in, materializes. Depending on what kind of tangible success is attained on the field, the off-field machinery moves into gear, moving on one of the plans that were made after analyzing thousands of scenarios and options.
A big example of data being used to attain success is Leicester FC, a top-tier football team in England. They have adopted the use of data into their scouting system so well that ever since their legendary Premier League title triumph around half a dozen years ago, they have managed not to fall away and get taken apart by the bigger players on the continental stage. They have continued to invest wisely, on and off the pitch, to ensure that they have the best players that suit their structure and club ethos over the long term.
And their recent success in being able to dine near the top of the Premier League table has helped them become one of the most sustainable models, not just in this cutthroat world of football capitalism, but the general sporting world. The club, and the organization, has become a beacon of hope for those with aspirations to reach the top,
Leicester have shown that a sustainable model, driven by the best use of data and analytics, can bridge the gap, if not completely overcome, of financial disparity between the haves and the have-nots, thus helping level the playing the field and giving more teams more chances of succeeding. Along the way, they have also become a bigger brand and are slowly gaining more traction in the corporate world across the globe.
The perfect storm in a world that is soon to be run by data and analytics.