3 ways big data and analytics will change sports

Product Marketing Manager, IBM Analytics, IBM

Analytics and big data have potential in many industries, but they are poised for a major breakthrough in sports. From coaches and players to front offices and businesses, analytics can make a difference in scoring touchdowns, signing contracts or preventing injuries. Here are three ways data analytics can improve efficiency, accuracy and profitability in sports. Predictive insight into fan preferences

Analytics can advance the sports fans’ experience as teams and ticket vendors compete with the at-home experience—the better they know their fans, the better they can cater to them. Today’s sports fans are coming into stadiums with smartphones that are changing the in-person experience. Fans expect technology to enhance game days. And in response, the organizers of major sporting events and owners of sporting venues are turning to new cloud, mobile and analytics technologies to deliver a great fan experience.

Soon, the following will be possible:

  • When you arrive at the stadium, a mobile app guides you to the closest available parking
  • During the action on the field, you have access to instant replays, alternate views and close-up videos
  • Using your mobile device, you can order food and beverages and have them delivered to your seat, never missing a play by avoiding a trip to the concession stand
  • Your smartphone shows you the closest restroom with the shortest line
  • After the game, the app provides traffic information and suggests the fastest route home

2. Data from wearable technologies

Data from wearable technology devices such as Google Glass, GPS trackers and fitness trackers provides real-time stats on each player, including speed, heart rate and acceleration. Such devices are also helping in reducing players’ injuries. No team wants its star players to sit out a match due to injuries. For example, in sports like rugby where the chances of getting injured are very high, injury levels have been reduced thanks to wearable sensors. The sensors record the impact of collision and intensity of activity, and compares them with the historical data in the database to determine if a player is at risk of getting injured or is overexerting.

3. Influencing coaching decisions

Data can help coaches and players make more-informed decisions that could decide the outcome of a game. Coaches can select the best players, field the most effective teams and make smarter decisions on the field or court.

Watch this video to see how IBM and the United States Tennis Association keep fans connected, engaged and close to the competition on the courts.

Learn more about IBM solutions for fan engagement.