This is how Big Data improves sports

The colossal power of information is exploited to innovate in sports processes, studying better the rival, and obtaining better results

This is how Big Data improves sports

Every time we see more and more devices around the athletes. Their function is to collect data of all kinds to create very detailed analyzes on different items: speed, strength, distance, temperature, power, plays, strategies, physiological information, and an endless list of topics. This is what is called Big Data, the large amounts of information that are generated and that require specialized analysis through the use of technology. Sport is no stranger to this revolution. Here, there are some examples:


Leer en español: Con ustedes el Big Data: Así evoluciona el deporte mundial

Football - Soccer

Many of us were surprised by the methodology of Jose Mourinho that made him a winner in Europe. However, at a technological level, Big Data reduces the impact of the Portuguese, because instead of relying on a person's observation capacity, technology collects and analyzes unimaginable amounts of information to provide strategic analysis to clubs.

Surely, you have seen players with vests or drones filming workouts. For example, Palco 23 highlights the alliance between Barcelona FC and the prestigious Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) to apply artificial intelligence and Big Data.

With the creation of the Barça Innovation Hub, the Catalans have proposed to become the Silicon Valley of sport. This was stated by Javier Sobrino, manager of strategy and innovation of the Blaugrana club to the newspaper La Nación de Argentina. The club expects to bill a billion euros for the first time.

In fact, in Barcelona they are aware of the power of information, Sobrino says: "we have to build our own data bases in order to obtain more data, some of which are obtained through the visit of fans to the facilities, the purchase of a ticket, the purchase in stores and restaurants, our potential is very great", he told to the Argentine newspaper.


Another sports

The origin of Big Data in sports is due to the Oakland Athletics of the Major League Baseball (MLB), according to Palco23. One of its managers, Billy Beane, realized in 2002 that statistics were better than intuition, particularly in hiring players. He noticed that not necessarily a player with a good sporting moment was the best, but that statistics was a better tool to judge him. Thus, he began to apply science to make decisions about the team, with spectacular results, winning 20 consecutive games in 2002 and creating a paradigm applicable to all sports.

Also read: The eSports takes over the Formula One

Pedro de Alarcón, head of LUCA, the Big Data business unit of Spain's Telefónica, told El País that the important thing is not the data itself, but the value they can have when they are processed. That is, they must be put in perspective to be useful. The Spanish company has successfully integrated the sports world, Alarcón told the Sport site: "Big Data will give us a real knowledge of how the athlete is at every moment, with what 'gasoline' he counts, the margin of error, that immediate information will be of great help", said when referring to what the company will do in cycling.



The Spaniards have been more ambitious. Telefónica will also work with the Movistar Riders, eSports team, to analyze the millions of data they generate and support the best development of the team, as reported by El País. The newspaper also puts other successful examples such as the Golden State Warriors of the NBA and Formula 1.

Another sport that has implemented this technology is American football. Merca20 emphasizes the importance of Big Data for the victory of the Philadelphia Eagles in this year's Super Bowl. The team hired the US company EjSports, responsible for putting the necessary information at the disposal of the coach, as a tool for decision making, which was reflected in the result.


LatinAmerican Post | Luis Liborio
Translated from “Con ustedes el Big Data: Así evoluciona el deporte mundial”

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