Top 20 Big Data Cases in Sport

Care to share?

In today’s highly developed competitive sports world, more and more factors depends on capturing, extracting and analysing data. Times are changing and appointing players on the grounds of their skills or accepting coach decisions based solely on their instinct is outdated. So the question is, does the use of technology kill and de-humanize the idea of sport? Is it a kind of modern doping?

Not at all. To prove this theory and emphasize the importance of data, we collect all interesting and unique Big Data cases in various fields of modern sport. Sit back and fasten your seat belts, we begin with Premier League.

Big data in football: Premier League

Costly statistics and data generated in every single football match, deliver information not only to audience or manager, but also to players, who can understand them and improve their weaknesses. Each of 20 clubs playing in top division has analysis department which provide key stats even during breaks.

Big data in Formula One

No one should be surprised by petabytes of data produced in Formula One’s Championship weekend. It has been widely known that the Queen of Motorsports has more common elements with NASA, than with any other sports disciplines. Without the use of Big Data making informed decisions would be definitely impossible and hard to imagine.

Big data in tennis

Some of the Australian Open’s biggest challenges occur off the court. Every point of every match is recorded, analysed and transmitted in real-time. Thanks to data analytics fans enjoy a deeper interaction with the game, media can access past and present match data and players can adjust tactics to a  specific competitor.

Bid data in Cricket

This especially popular sport in former British colonies is awash with statistics. Sign of the times was England’s Head Coach Peter Moore’s words, that he spends more time in front of the computer than on the stadium. Nevertheless, data is not an overriding factor and never will be, it is there to support, but probably one of the key means of support to achieve success.

Basketball: NBA

Honing your jump shot or jump hook is one of the components to gain competitive advantage in basketball. But to really take up the challenge and compete with Kobe Bryant, you need honest analysis based on hard data. Relying only on old eye-ball test scouting reports belongs to the past.

Big data in running: Marathon

Wearable devices appeared on the market few years ago and were warmly welcomed, principally in runners’ environment. For runners marathon is considered a Holy Grail, something particularly important. Almost ¾ of marathon runners use wearables for training purposes and 88 percent of them say that devices provide essential, added motivation which lets them reach an edge over the competition.

Big data in baseball

Have you seen Moneyball with Brad Pitt? If not, you definitely should. Then you’ll realize why data analysis is so important in this game. One baseball game is close to generating up to 1TB of data. This processed information has a large influence on team strategy and personnel decisions. The easiest way to understand what we are talking about, my advice is clear – become friends with Moneyball and Brad Pitt.

Big data in Ice Hockey

Hockey is a naturally aggressive sport, and the casual fan has learned to associate it with violence — the kind that makes the daily sports highlight segment on the news. But it’s also a sport where depending on brutal defence and agile offense is particularly significant. Thanks to Big Data solutions, NHL’s team Vancouver Canucks noticed once of hidden dependence, which gives measurable effects: more goals scored, less goals conceded.

Big data in skiing

Paper tickets? Not anymore. RFID systems revolutionized ski resorts’ operations. Not only it saves the resort’s money but also improves the skiers’ experience. Another Big Data’s application is to match offer to individual skier’s needs and predict future factors such as snow slides or snowfall.

Big data in Basketball Coaching

Vision in which the main coach of the team is in many ways marginalized by, let’s say, algorithms, has never been closer than today. Statistician and Machine role’s roles will be growing faster and faster, and maybe one day there will be a human being executing machine’s commands sitting on the players bench.

Big data in Rugby

Governing body of the English Rugby Union (RFU) had a strategic plan to invest in national rugby union team, English rugby clubs and made discipline more popular nationwide. Due to predictive analytics they reached more goals than it had been firstly intended. One of them was contributed to a 27 percent in unique website visitors to

Big data in football: World Cup

At a glance it might be at least surprising, but due to Big Data’s implementation German football national team … won World Cup 2014. Football players, of course, did lion’s share of the work, but data was the imperceptible factor, which may have tipped the scales. Many commentators, when not talking about how much artificial grass costs would say that, not without reason, said that result 7:1 in semi-final with Brazil, was an effect of analysed immense data by SAP system.

Big data in Chess

This article makes no sense without the most ‘mathematical’ (except card games), royal game – Chess. Developing strategies, based on past contests, is a solid foundation for rival’s work out in detail. Knowledge of opponent’s strategy and behavior is a crucial element to be the World Champion.

Big data in horse-racing

The numbers of the U.S. market don’t look so good. Betting is down almost 30 percent over the last decade. But there is a ray of hope, many bettors who see renewed interest in horse racing, at least partially as a result of big data. Changing world of big data and analytics is also changing the horse-racing industry and giving it a new life.

Big data in golf

Golf is well-known as a sport dedicated to well-to-do group of society. For some of them, the sport might be hard to learn, so the basic question is how to turn players into winners? Of course skills are needed, like in every sport, but in this case Big Data is rather a revolution than evolution. Created 3D images are the example which provide great insight into where the golfer needs slight improvements to get more power and accuracy.

Big data in football, basketball and hockey

Seemingly football, basketball and hockey are three separate sport’s disciplines. But analysing these games from Big Data perspective provides a curious and impressive conclusion. Bizarre and simple patterns and similarities between the sports begin to emerge, what makes these sports more complicated than we expected.

Big data in sailing

The America’s Cup, also humorously called ‘Auld Bug’ is the one of the most prestigious sailing races in the world. Knowledge of technology and correlation between individual elements of yacht’s and weather conditions would be impossible to reach without Big Data elements. That is why Oracle decided to develop their system, thanks to which they have been on the top since 2010.

Big data in boxing

Have you ever heard about flash storage? It’s efficient and highly scalable system which is used to process real-time stats. Also one of Big Data pros, that could be used in boxing  to have an effect on coaching decisions regarding who should be boxing and what strategies to employ. What is more, some years ago stats were analysed after a fight, now it’s possible to do it in real-time. It’s an Unbelievable advantage for modern fans and experts.

Big data in cycling

After Lance Armstrong has admitted to using performance enhancing drugs, everyone was absolutely convinced that was beginning of the end of excellent results. But medicine, especially based on PEDs, is not the only support to solve a cyclist’s problem. Use of data and technology makes the difference as well, but is a safer option to increase mobility, strength, endurance and to accelerate recovery.

Big data in poker

Finally – poker, strictly mathematical game based on percentage and algorithms. An Immense room for manoeuvre for Big Data. It’s useful and practical in many different situations, like picking up valuable information about other players at the table, making decision to mix up strategies and knowledge when to lay down cards. To put it simply, Big Data understanding allows to win tournaments.

Do you want to implement Big Data solutions in your business? Contact us.

Published April 8, 2015