Big Data At The Big Game: How Analytics Impacts The World Of Sport

Big data sport

There really doesn’t seem to be any limit to how IT can impact us, both personally and professionally. Within the business world, it is changing every aspect, from the automotive industry to the hospitality industry, and from retail to agriculture. However, it is extremely exciting to see its huge impact on the modern sports industry.

Analytics and statistics have played a big part in sport for a long time now, where scores and gameplay are reviewed to help make improvements for future games and to help work out the odds of winning. However, sports professionals often have to make split-second decisions. Although this can be based on experience, humans cannot compete with technology.

There have been huge technological developments over time, revolutionising the sports industry. It is now possible to get more accurate and useful insights from current and past information, helping sports professionals make much more informed decisions. Plus, these decisions can be made much quicker than ever before!

These insights simply couldn’t be possible without big data analytics, which is therefore becoming an increasingly prevalent and important aspect of sporting organisations.

What is big data analytics?

Many people talk about big data analytics, but what actually is it? Big data analytics is a process that examines large data sets, which can be structured or unstructured. This helps to uncover valuable business information, such as hidden patterns, correlations, trends, customer preferences and much more. This can lead to a more effective business, with advanced targeted marketing, stronger customer service, better efficiency and more of a competitive advantage.

How sporting organistaions use big data

There are many different ways sports companies are implementing these changes. This adoption is only set to develop further in the future, with technology developing at a mind-boggling pace.

Take a look at some of the current ways sports companies are making use of technology and big data analytics:

  • Wearable technology
    Many different tech companies are looking at how they can use wearable sports technology, and it is something that sports companies can really benefit from. These devices can include fitness trackers, smart watches, heart rate monitors, and much more. With the data recorded from these devices, whatever your activity, you can see how you are performing and monitor your training progress. You can then set goals based on these previous experiences, backed up by data. Wearable devices are becoming very popular among casual sport and fitness participants as well as professionals.
  • Competitor analysis
    One of the many benefits of sports analytics is being able to use big data to get ahead of your competition. This can be carried out in a number of ways. For example, football teams could analyse the players on their rival team, such as their play history, past tactics, or movements during games. Rather than making decisions themselves, managers are able to pull insights from this data to create much stronger tactics for their own players in upcoming games.
  • Designing training programs
    Sports specialists can create better training plans with the use of big data. Instead of following pre-set training plans used by everyone, more beneficial, coaches can create bespoke training plans by analysing performance over time. The plan can then be tweaked on a regular basis to make sure the training program is as effective as possible to achieve the desired results, as it is based on ongoing performance measurements.
  • Useful information for player recruiting and contracting
    When recruiting new players for a team, such as in football, it can be useful to review data from their past. You can analyse their tactics, player history, injuries, goals and much more. This will help you to work out whether they will fit within your team and help you decide if you are making a good investment.
  • More interesting statistics and content for fans
    With Twitter and social networks, fans seem to have an even bigger appetite than ever before for information. However, with innovative technology, it’s now much easier to provide information that they will be looking for. This couldn’t be done without big data analytics. With this, sports teams are able to provide their fans with a much bigger and more interesting selection of information on games, players, scores and much more. Alternatively, data can even be collected via interactions with fans, to help sports companies create more tailored advertising opportunities, which can create a stronger financial return.
  • Live information for coaching staff during games or events
    During training and games, players/athletes are now equipped with sensors that help to monitor their performance. This can help coaching staff, as they are able to see in real-time the performance of their players and work out which factors are influencing them, to make much more informed decisions throughout the game. This not only makes players more competitive, but can also help coaches see how success was achieved and therefore how to replicate it in the future, or even improve upon it!


It is clear that technology is transforming sport. Although in some areas sports companies are being cautious, there is no doubt that big data can provide huge benefits. With this, it is clear that technical staff are a vital asset to the team, not only to run their systems, but to manage the data revolution, helping to interpret the advanced mass of statistics to get the maximum benefit. However, big data is not only important for sports professionals themselves, but also to fans, managers, and coaches as well as potential investors.

What is truly exciting is that this is only the start. It is clear that sports companies will continue to find new ways of using big data analytics to improve even further. So watch this space!

How else have you seen sports organisations using technology and big data? Leave us your comments @SaxonsIT on Twitter.


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