It has been four years since Moneyball first made us think about the role of analytics in transforming sports. But the use of big data analytics in sports has got much more advanced since then. Big data analytics has started to transform sports significantly, like we wrote in this blog last year.

 

Today, there are highly sophisticated ways to monitor and capture ever-increasing chunks of data. Not just the video cameras, but the extensively used sensors and wearables capture virtually every aspect of the game. Everything right from calorie intake, training levels to fan interactions are closely monitored to achieve the better performance on the field.

 

Here’s a great example in this Forbes article: In the UK, Premier League soccer team Arsenal has recently invested millions in developing its own analytics team to make better use of the data it is now collecting. One important data stream comes from 8 cameras installed around its stadium to track every player and their interactions. The system by sports analytics provider Prozone tracks 10 data points per second for every player, or 1.4 million data points per game. The system is also used to monitor 12,000 soccer matches around the world, which are all analyzed using automated algorithms as well as manual coding of every interaction with the ball to increase the accuracy and value of the analysis.

 

There is no doubt that analytics can help improve game performance. As Cynthia Rudin, associate professor of statistics at MIT, says in this article in the Guardian, “Sports are watched by millions and millions of people – yet, pretty much all of the strategic decisions are made by humans in a split second. These decisions could definitely be enhanced by learning from past data, but humans can’t keep large databases in their heads. I wanted to build predictive analytics tools to help teams make these decisions.”

 

The use of analytics in sports will only increase as the benefits become apparent. Of the four major sports in America, it is reported that 97 percent of MLB teams and 80 percent of NBA teams employ analytics professionals, according to this article in Investopedia.