Data Science in Sport
Data Science for Sport / Sports Analytics
Sports Analytics can vary in terms of maturity, depending on the sport, but using Analytics and Data Science within a Sporting context is a fascinating area, and one which i would suggest still has a long way to go before we exhaust all possible use cases.
We can look back to Billy Beane’s Oakland Raiders Baseball team, covered in the famous “Moneyball” film starring Brad Pitt, and suggest that was the start of analytics being used in a sports team setting. Other sports in the States, then began to follow suit, and so now analytics is used in a lot of sports, including Basketball, American Football, and even Golf (with Bryson DeChambeau, nicknamed the “Mad Scientist”, allegedly using data and analytics to help his golf swing and game). In the UK, football or soccer has been slower to utilise data, but that is slowly changing.
Looking more specifically into the types of use cases within Sports, where analytics and data science techniques can be used :-
- Injury Prevention is a huge one, which if you can get right, provides a sports team with huge advantages.
- Recruitment, ie. Player identification. Can you spot the next Pele ?
- Fan engagement. Many concepts used in a business setting could be applied in a Sporting context.
- Ticket Sales. Can you analyse data to maximise attendances for games?
- Opposition Analysis. Getting data on your opponents, predicting how they are likely to set up and play.
- Computer Vision. Analysing video footage of games, to identify patterns of play.
In summary, Data Science and Sport, a fascinating area !! For a sports geek and data science geek, like myself, it would be a dream job !!
By: Neil Chapman