Yet again we see an example of how sports data analytics platforms are being used in a wide variety of industries, with significant impact. The US Tennis Association are using IBM Watson analytics to gain advantage on the court.  The tool is used to help improve training sessions and match performances. Watson is used to capture data filmed from training and matches to provide insight into opponent’s habits to be exploited, tendencies for fatigue to be avoided etc.

It is now common place for data analysts to be employed full-time in the National Basketball Association (NBA) to analyze performance, tactics, habits and even fatigue. These teams have been shown to improve scores and reduce occurrence of injuries. The Golden State Warriors were the first teams in the NBA to embrace data science. This team have been leading the championship for years. They first adopted SportsUV cameras, high speed cameras that take 25 frames a second. These cameras were used to utilize the Estimated Possession Value (EPV), enabling the use of a statistical tool to track all the players on the court to predict the probability to score.

The National Football League (NFL) are even using data analytics to monitor and maintain players health.  With teams wearing electronic health recording equipment on the pitch, that can be monitored pitch-side via a tablet device.  In a culture where the detrimental risks of concussion are high, this technology could be lifesaving.

Data is not just being used to improve players ability to win but also the fans experience. Rugby Football Union (RFU) have adopted IBM software to analyze their multiple streams of data, in an aim to improve the customer experience and encourage more people to enjoy the sport. The union’s aim is to engage and inspire new audiences and deepen their relationships with their volunteers and fans. Firstly, they have seen a substantial increase in open rate from their emails to fans.  From their data, they are now able to send information that is more relevant to the individual customer and not inundate them with unsuitable emails.  The platform has allowed them to provide fans with information related to their visit to the stadium on match days, travel disruptions, weather, events in and around the game. The IBM Watson software allows the marketing team to analyze their success rate, RFU has seen their reach double since the use of IBM CRM.  Executives are extremely happy to see marketing cost decrease and engagement and tickets sales increase since implementing the software. In a recent blog, we also discussed how the San Francisco 49ers used SAP Business Objects in a similar way to nurture love of the game and improve the fans experience.

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