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Sports analytics is changing the game as it allows all stakeholders to peek into the hidden data that holds the key to their success or failure. The western countries have all adopted analytics as an integral part of their major sports. Be it basketball, baseball or football, analytics is heavily relied on. However, it is still at a nascent stage in India and mostly restricted to cricket, in its usage.
Manipal Prolearn conducted a webinar on Sports Analytics on May 23, 2017. It was held by Gaurav Sundaraman, Senior Stats Analyst, ESPN. Here are the key highlights of the webinar.
How is Analytics disrupting the sports across verticals?
Though it is still at a nascent stage, Analytics is emerging quite rapidly in the scene and is used to for insights on various fronts. Speaking on this, Gaurav cited the example of hosting a cricket match in Mumbai, where there are three stadiums. Organizers nowadays resort to analytics to find out information like which venue would have the best turnout of spectators. It further helps in generating higher revenues.
Here are some key questions for which sports stakeholders are resorting to analytics:
Sourcing Data and using it for Insights
In the context of a game, data can be sourced from various sources. Installing cameras and sensors is one way of capturing raw data. It can also be done by simply listening to the commentaries. Delving deeper into the topic Gaurav said that ‘Text analytics’ is a relatively newer addition and some startups have already started working on this. Citing an example of this, Gaurav presented the slide added below. This shows the kind of information that even a single line of commentary includes.
Drifting a little from the Indian context of Cricket, Gaurav spoke about the English Premier League. He said that in EPL matches there are close to 20 HD cameras and multiple sensors installed on the ground. These devices capture and track minute details about players such as their heart beat. The data is further analyzed to find out, how a player reacts or performs when he/she has a higher rate of heart beat.
He further spoke about the ways in which meaningful data is changing decisions at auctions. Putting forward the slide given below he explained how team owners used to decide five years back and how they do it now.
So, earlier if a cricket team owner had to choose a player in the capacity of a finisher, then he would have chosen ‘player A’ as he is apparently a better batsman than ‘player B’. However, if you are looking for a finisher, you need someone who will face fewer number of deliveries and has to make the most of that. Hence, somebody with a higher strike rate and more number of sixes would be a better fit. So, with data granularity things are changing gradually!
Use of Analytics across Sports Verticals
Gaurav further described how analytics can be used across various sports verticals. He explained how fan-analytics has a great potential to grow in India. Data scientists can delve into smaller details and find out more information on the audience and figure out ways to retain their interest and also call out to newer audiences. Here’s a quick look at how analytics can disrupt all these verticals:
Here’s what you need to become a Sports Analytics Expert
So, if it has already got you thinking and you are wondering if you could make a shift in your career or chart this path for a great future then here’s what you need to have:
- Understanding the domain is an advantage as it helps to derive at deeper insights.
- The ability to interpret data in the right way is a crucial ability that you should have. Raw or unstructured data can be found in plenty, so, you need to have a good understanding to interpret that.
- Strong analytical skills is a must.
Liking for numbers and maths is again another advantage. Though this is not a must-have skill, but those who love to analyze numbers and find patterns will certainly find quite an interest in this.
Knowledge of statistical packages too is a great help. However, this is something that can be learnt.
So, that was it from the webinar. If you enjoyed the read, do keep following this space for more and subscribe to our newsletter. You can also fill the form here and our team will get in touch with you.