November 7, 2013

Sports using big data to enhance ‘fan experience’

1 minute read

Big data and analytics are having a noticeable effect on the way sports teams improve their relationship with fans.

That’s the opinion of Bill McDemott, CEO of enterprise software firm SAP AG, who suggests big data is moving deeper into the world of sports, similar to the way the technology has had a positive effect on normal businesses.

Speaking as part of a panel at AdWeek New York, McDermott said SAP AG is working together with NFL team San Francisco 49ers during the construction of their new stadium in order to create a completely ‘digital experience’.

Using mobile technologies and real time access to player data, McDermott wants the at-seat experience to be preferable to watching the game at home. Getting people to attend games is becoming much harder – “thanks in part to the impact of HD broadcasting,” reports – but by using big data to make the fan experience “more engaging, more intimate and more dynamic”, attendance might rise.

“[Like] Moneyball on steroids,” quipped McDermott, cited by, referring to baseball manager Billy Beane’s attempt to use computer-generated analysis to acquire new players.

Real-time analytics were tested during the last SuperBowl match to predict what was likely to happen based on the software’s knowledge of the on-field situation. Eighty-five per cent of the time, the software correctly predicted the next play, highlighting the power of big data and analytics.

Summarising the challenge and opportunity of big data, Pac-12 commissioner Larry Scott – another member of the panel – drew a comparison with the agency world and sports brands: “It’s about globalisation, and it’s about technology.”

Posted by Ihar Maraziuk


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Sports using big data to enhance ‘fan experience’