Data Science: Professional Sports’ New MVP?
News It’s an unmistakable sound of summer: the crack of the bat as a hitter sends a fastball high into the air against a cloudless sky.
The center fielder’s eyes dart to the ball, following its trajectory. He sprints, breathless, feeling a soft, comforting thud in his glove. The crowd rises to its feet. Inning over.
In recent years, this seemingly routine component of America’s pastime—and many other parts of the game—has experienced a technological revolution. Cameras and sensors now track the ball and player’s movements, among other points, collecting data surrounding reaction time and path toward the catch.
Later, the coaching staff will analyze this information to make critical decisions, which can mean the difference between winning and losing in a billion-dollar league where childhood dreams become reality.
"Those that are able to turn that information into usable insights will be the difference in big games moving forward, no matter the industry."
And this is only the beginning. Senior leaders in sports franchises, as with their counterparts in the commercial business and public sectors, are quickly learning that advanced analytics has the ability to unlock unprecedented insights on the field and in the stands. Today, data science organizations are applying their capabilities to the sports industry, helping major franchises and facility management organizations recognize patterns in their data and develop strategies to improve performance far into the future.
Using data science, major league organizations can now predict the risk of player injury using wearable technologies, engage a fan base by optimizing loyalty programs and precisely quantify the value of commercial partnerships, among a vast number of additional applications. In essence, we are only limited by our imaginations, as we test the art of what is truly possible each and every day.
Simply put, we now live in a world dominated by data. And those that are able to turn that information into usable insights will be the difference in big games moving forward, no matter the industry.