Data Science and Data Visualization Are Bringing Tech to Sports, From High School to the Pros

Research shows that sports rank as the #1 interest in online and offline viewing for fathers, and fairly high for mothers. Non-parents also show similar interest. It’s no surprise that this hugely popular global industry is taking advantage of data science and visualization. Two data science sports companies recently presented at UCLA’s Global Access Program (GAP): Genius Tech Group and Sports Performance Tracking.  While there are many others, these two provide valuable insight.

Engaging Fans with Data Visualization and Gamification

Genius Tech Group, based in Melbourne Australia,

“Provides compelling sports insights and experiences using data analytics and gamification to drive large-scale consumer engagement at sporting events.” 

Big Data is Big in Sports: 2 Australian Firms Show Promise and Results
Big Data is Big in Sports: 2 Australian Firms Show Promise and Results

Starting from origins in the Australian sportsbook industry (i.e., betting), Genius Tech Group has expanded to offer app products like Genius Games (free-to-play prediction games) and Fan Pick (where fans compete against other fans to win prizes). Fan Pick is designed to engage fans while attending an event. The apps combine data visualization and gamification elements. Long term, wagering implementation can lead to increased revenue.  The firm’s competitors include Xperiel, GameChange and others.

Data Science Helps Athletes Improve On-Field Performance

Big Data is Big in Sports: 2 Australian Firms Show Promise and Results

With origins in Australian soccer, Sports Performance Tracking, also from Melbourne, provides data to enhance sports performance for athletes at different levels: collegiate, high school, and recreational/non-scholastic. The specific focus of Sports Performance Tracking is the “prosumer” segment (between consumer products like Fitbit and elite athlete products like Apex Pro).

Big Data is Big in Sports: 2 Australian Firms Show Promise and Results

Sports Performance Tracking offers a wearable device, the SPT1 GPS, along with GameTraka analytics. Together, this system delivers performance metrics for review by coaches and athletes. Benefits include both output improvement as well as injury prevention for athletes.  While there is interest among coaches, the firm has identified that many coaches are understaffed, and lack resources and time to conduct the analytics.  In the longer-term, high school teams might have a volunteer student or parent data scientist who provides this data to coaches.  A career in data science could get its start for an enterprising student who loves sports.

These companies are just two examples of big data being big in sports. Media giants, professional sports organizations and more are also engaging in massive data science and data visualization efforts. The intersection of gamification, sports, devices, and analytics provides a fertile ground for innovation. Looking at other high-involvement categories, like food and entertainment, it’s easy to imagine the wealth of apps, wearable devices and other areas coming together for commercial success.