Professional Sports Teams Are Experiencing a Data Revolution
There are three critical things: the amount of data is growing exponentially, the majority of data is unstructured and unstructured data can really impact a team, or a player.
IBM iX reports that
Of professional teams in North America have created a sports science division.
Of professional teams use some form of analytics for performance evaluation.
Of pro athletes have a social media presence, where they’re producing daily content.
The average NBA team has 18 different data sources that they use to manage all aspects of player performance and support team management with the decision making process.
The universe of data is growing exponentially,
but the majority of that data is unstructured.
Unstructured data is anything that is in written form, natural language, or images, videos and those kinds of things.
If you look at unstructured data, historically they haven’t been used to manage player performance or used to support the decision making of the team. The majority of the analysis has traditionally been focused on structured data, purely numbers that can be modeled and graphed and be compared against each other.
The challenge is trying to find ways of bringing in the unstructured data, so it can be used by the front office, as part of player evaluation, because you have an awful lot less to work with if you’re just using the structured data.
What do you do with unstructured data?
You want to be able to look at it, you want to be able to interact with it, and that’s where data visualization comes into play.
It’s not about stats anymore – now it’s about how you fit the pieces of the puzzle together to create that unique picture for team management in a way that’s personalized to each player. This provides insights that help support management when they need to make those critical multimillion dollar decisions.
Data visualization offers the promise of a data-driven business model, generating competitive advantage fueled by new business insights.