Exercise Care in Using Big Data for Sports Coverage
Big data is undoubtedly having a strong influence on all walks of life, and sports is one field where its presence is very visible. It is expected to revolutionize the sports industry through better coaching, player performance, competitor analysis, game-time decisions, contract negotiations, and understanding fan traits and behaviors, thereby strengthening the overall sporting business.
Big data brings a new business-to-business-to-consumer perspective to sports. New career options, from data scientists to chief data officers, are on the rise. Traditionally, data has been captured from cameras on the field, but increasingly, more modern sources—such as information posted on social media by fans—are being leveraged to diversify the data content. This influx of information can be used to positively change the sporting industry in unexpected ways.
However, Gartner talks about the dark side of big data, where businesses place too much faith on the analysis made on layered assumptions. It’s also been argued that big data takes away the art of sports, making it a pure science.
Big data is a very complex technology with scarce resources, making it difficult to source people with the right skills to use it. Although it is increasingly gaining popularity, both in implementation and in analytics angles, it is not a widely found skill on resumes yet. At the very core of effective big data is data analytics, and if this is not done right, decisions made could result in serious repercussions. There are also other challenges around the security of data, its ownership, and data curation to ensure its quality, especially when it is sourced externally.
That said, big data is here to stay, and other technologies such as cloud, mobile, and wearables will continue to support it. Sports fans are increasingly realizing the difference big data can make, whether in the actual game or in their viewing experience, when it comes to connecting various disjointed pieces.
These fans are not in a position to always directly see the dark side of big data, so software vendors have a very important responsibility to continue to ensure their analytics solutions are protected and perfected. Business users also have to ensure the right solutions are used, even if it takes more time and money, rather than rushing into the hype of big data without being properly prepared to deliver the best experience to fans.