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How Big Data is changing football on and off the field

Thor Olavsrud | Sept. 13, 2013
Big data is rapidly transforming the way we think, work and play. It is helping enterprises use their data to improve their processes, recognize anomalies and better connect with customers. The power of data is changing everything, often without our realizing it is happening. Case in point: football (and fantasy football in particular).

"I would argue that it adds to the human element, not takes it away," Davis says. "The reality is, when a limited few have access to data and the tools to manage data, then their advantage is in the data and the tools. When we can democratize the technology and have it be available to everybody for free, well, all of a sudden, then, it's a level playing field and it's about human ingenuity and judgment. As the players and the coaches get the data on the field, then it's about their performance. It's not about an edge from data. So I think democratizing data is great."

"Teams, even the football players themselves and obviously the decision-makers, are interested in technology because they appreciate how much the technology can make their life more efficient and effective," Pollard adds.

As is the case with all uses of big data, the true value comes not only from the data but in the capability to analyze it. The power comes from helping teams manage and use the data and use the data, Pollards says. "How do these large columns and spreadsheets and tables look visually so a player, coach or personnel evaluator can interpret the data and apply that knowledge? We always like to say that the collection of data and the management of data is a science, but the true synthesizing of that data and implementing the knowledge that you derive from it, that's an artistic thing. It increases the human element."


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