Sports Analytics – Need a Second Opinion?
“There is no sport as competitive as business “– Mark Cuban
Gone are the days when a third umpire’s observational skills and expertise were the only moral quandary hanging between a batsman’s dismissal and the opposition team’s success. With advanced technology and inbuilt data analytic skills, we can even premeditate the extent to which our opponents devise their strategies. Add to it Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things and Cloud computing, Sports Analytics has scaled a whole new height of expertise like a gourmet dish served with the right mix of ingredients. Now is the time to be in the business of sports as you are aided by the most sophisticated technology and it is no longer a story about grit and heart, its more about information and insight.
Statistics has amended the unsaid rules of the game that now the data is no longer about the game alone. It is more about highly structured sources such as the player, teams, opponents, movements, field conditions, weather, rate of exhaustion etc. Whether it be a game of basketball, Cricket, Football, Hockey, Badminton or Tennis, data is being harnessed at unfathomable rates. An Analysis of data into all the above-mentioned components can create a conducive situation for the player/team to gain a competitive advantage.
Irrespective of the innovative Hawkeye or the many predecessors or successors that followed the way a sport is played, the following are some of the most advanced methodologies applied in Sports:
2. Computer Vision and Natural Language Processing
3. Player and Ball path Optimization
5. Player Health, Training and Performance Optimization
On-Field Application – Analytics goes further by improving individual and group performance. Fitness programs and Nutrition plans can be catered to the most discerning individual. Analytics helps in developing team strategies and tactics.
Team Management – The marketing and cost aspects of the team can be handled using analytics. Brand engagement using sports merchandise is a strategy that can be deployed to increase the fan base.
Given the edge it adds to sports, it has also radicalized the many career opportunities that spawned along with the turn of the century with sports reporting taking center stage. At the crux of it, it is all about the numbers.
Technology has so permeated the field of sports that the who’s who in the name of technology are vying for a piece of the sports analytics pie. Whether they be injury prediction, Player scouting, Player Valuation, Ticket pricing etc. High sensing cameras are deployed to capture the motion of balls or the strokes of racquets. And these become the basis for future decisions. I am sure most of the yesteryear sports personalities would be wondering if such a technology could have reversed many ill-fated decisions that ruled out their careers. But that’s a ‘what if’ we may never get to answer. Today more and more companies are relying on the most likely outcome from number-crunching than pure gut instinct.
Analytics goes only so far. Basketball, more than baseball, for example, is really a team sport – Steve Ballmar
Authors- Benila Jacob, Anthony Preetham