Six Ways Big Data Is Changing Sports

We are living in a data-driven world, from media to healthcare, automakers to digital entrepreneurs. In sports, data is changing how athletes perform in ways never experienced before. Whether in practice or on match days, athletes and sports organisations are using big data to transform how sports works.

The amount of data sports organisations collect by using modern technology is enormous. And thanks to its intensity, big data is helping make significant changes as outlined below.

Helping Teams Win Consistently

Talent, teamwork and good coaching can only take a team so far. That’s why organisations all around the world are collecting and analysing data to improve their performances. American baseball team the Oakland Athletics, for example, uses special tools to find undervalued players.


As Bleacher Report explains, the A’s would probably not have made it to the playoffs in 2017 was it not for big data. Together with his data collection team; the team analysed large volumes of player stats to create the best roster with the then available budget.

Besides assembling players, sports franchises also collect advanced player data to stay ahead of their competitors. Usually, they use sensors mounted on players’ jerseys or worn as wrist gadgets to gather the information. They then analyse it to help the players work on their weaknesses or optimise their strengths.

Helping Bettors beat Bookmakers

Every gambler’s dream could soon come true if scientists finally create an algorithm that can beat bookmakers consistently. In 2017, a professor at Cardiff University, together with his students created an algorithm that analysed three years worth of data and used it to predict football matches.

The mathematicians successfully made money through their algorithm. But as they later explained, the bot’s profit margin was significantly little despite being consistent. Fortunately, many more scientists have been on a mission to create betting algorithms.

Tuan Nguyen, an EPL fan and a researcher, also claims to have developed an algorithm that helped him predict 70% of EPL games correctly. But as he also admits, his bot is far from perfect. That means you still need to research and analyse games before you bet.

And to increase your odds of winning, always find out what football tipsters like Wincomparator have predicted before placing your bets. Read their analyses to learn why they support specific teams and only bet if you are confident in a prediction.

Reducing Injuries

One of the biggest worries for parents with kids interested in sports is that they could pick severe injuries. And while accidents frequently happen in sports, many schools are turning to big data to help them monitor young players and avoid serious injuries.

Fairfax County, North Virginia, one of the safest counties when it comes to county injuries in the USA, provides an excellent benchmark for what schools should do to lower concussions. Although reports show schools in the county have been limiting the time students play contact sports, they’ve reported declines in injuring by over 50% since 2014.

Ideally, schools use data from other schools to benchmark their training procedures, safety measures and other policies they use to reduce injuries. They then imitate the same ideas to reduce injuries among student-athletes in their schools.

Improving Recruitment Decisions

For a long time, European football teams have been using data to compare youngsters from all major continents to find prospects. American baseball, NBA and NFL teams have also been exploiting statistics for over a decade.

But it was not until recently that sports organisations all over the world began collecting large subsets of information with the goal of scouting players to sign. From shots to dribbles, tackles to goals, big data analytical companies record every single movie players make on the field, according to

When data worth hundreds of hours is compiled and analysed, sports clubs can assess the strengths and weaknesses of any player. More importantly, they can better predict the future performance of young players and decide whether to hire them.

Enhancing Stadium Experience

One of the best use cases of big data is helping fans have a better time when they pay to watch games live. In Sacramento, the Kings once partnered with Google to develop glasses that helped upper-level seat attendees to get up-close views of the action.

Still in the Valley, the San Francisco 49ers have wired their stadium with high-speed Internet to enhance their fans’ experiences. For example, they have an application their supporters can use to find directions to their seats when it’s crowded. They can also use the app to order food and drinks, and they will be delivered right to the specific places they are seated.

In New York, Barclays uses a unique technology called Vixi with the collaboration of big data to help fans send tweets on giant screens within the stadium. They also use an almost similar tool to collect data the Brooklyn Nets could use to improve their fans’ experiences.

Empowering the Back Office

Beyond players’ performances and fan experiences, big data is helping organisations increase their bottom line in unprecedented ways. First off, it’s being used to track logistics, procurement the performances of their staff.

More and more companies are also using findings analysed from data to improve their marketing techniques. Social media is the favourite platform for collecting data from sports organisations. It’s also one of the best places to market their merchandise and promote tickets.

When it comes to finding sponsors; big data gives teams leverage at the negotiation tables. Unlike two decades ago, they now have information about all of their players, fan bases and everything else brands want to know before sponsoring sports clubs.

The Takeaway

As competition in sports increases, teams will continue to invest in advanced data collection and analytical tools. Each organisation wants to win games to attract fans. They need sponsors and winning the hearts of talented prospects.

Big data can solve many problems in the sports world as history shows. From the A’s qualifying for the playoffs with one of the cheapest rosters to students in Cardiff beating bookmakers, big data is making a tremendous impact.