According to Bernard Marr, author of Big Data: The Winning Formula in Sports, the landscape of sports is changing rapidly and will continue to evolve as big data analytics continues to grow. Made famous by the film Moneyball, the use of data in sports, refered to as sabermetrics has changed the way players, managers and owners view their respected sports. Since Billy Beane, the star of Moneyball revolutionized the sports industry, data has a more widespread use in sports. Data in sports was originally used to track on field performance and acquire players whose stats provided the greatest value to their team. In this article, Marr describes the various different ways big data analytics influences sports including injury prevention, off field tendencies, and fan interaction.
After seeing Moneyball I knew big data was prevalent in sports, but I had no idea to the extent of which it was being used. Players are essentially extremely high priced assets in the eyes of their owners, and data analytics allow teams are now able to monitor their players at all times. Injuries are a huge part of sports and can not only affect the on field product, but also the revenue and bottom line of the team as a business. Players now wear devices that track how their body reacts to the vigourous training they endure. I believe this will become an essential function of every team throughout sports. With the data these devices collect, coaches should be able to know when players are most susceptible to injury and in turn can know when to shut them down to recover. I also found it intriguing that teams are keeping data on their players away from the facilities, including players eating, sleeping and recovery habits. This can help in various ways, for example, if the data suggests that a player had a good night sleep, then they are more likely to perform at a higher level. A fascinating aspect of data analytics in sports is how it goes beyond the players and to the fans.
Teams have begun collecting data on fans and their watching and purchasing habits. I believe companies should continue to invest in data analytics based on fans’ social media presence. This could allow teams to see which of their players are being talked about most frequently and in turn teams can market the given player and their merchandise more prominently. Also with streaming services such as Facebook Live becoming more popular, fans are now able to watch their team's’ games on social media. If teams have data on their fans social media presence, they could be better informed whether they should pursue the various live streaming possibilities.
Pundits in the sports world will argue that big data analytics takes away from the fundamental principles of the sport, but the reality is the stakes are so high in the business of sports that teams have no choice but to implement data analytics in some capacity to better their franchise.