As a result, teams will need to form a data strategy, acquire specialist software to help manage and govern their data effectively, and foster collaboration across all departments. Fortunately, SAS can provide these abilities and, as a result, is being used by a number of basketball teams.

What about the wider world?

Most interestingly, it’s not just basketball or baseball taking advantage of analytics. Professional sport globally is embracing the benefits of analytics in the locker room. From within the white lines, analysis is being used in two main ways: performance analysis and physical analysis.

Football, for example, has been using GPS monitors for physical analysis, tracking a multitude of metrics describing a player’s movement in matches since the 2015-16 season, and in training years before this. This allows the training and coaching staff to get a better view of an individual’s readiness to train, reduce the chance of injury and better design training.

In addition, new technology is threatening to revolutionise football even further. Like the on-court cameras used in the NBA, SAS® is being used on cameras around football stadiums to track all players and the ball to the nth degree by SciSports’ Ball James system.

These cameras are able to produce detailed data never perceived before: what part of the body contacted the ball, whether the team is playing the formation prescribed by the manager, and even the true potential of a player. Combining these two elements allows for a much greater knowledge of what interactions are taking place on a pitch, their effect on the desired outcome of a victory and how to alter determinants of that to the advantage of a team.

The Ball James (Scisports) system using advanced analytics and AI.
SciSports’ Ball James system tracking all players on the football stadium and the ball to the nth degree.

In summary

This post has focused on how analytics has shaped the world of sport, within the white lines. However, it could just have easily been written to reflect the changes being made outside of them, including fan engagement models and dynamic ticket pricing. Nevertheless, it still raises some questions. What will the competitive edge be for teams when analysis becomes so widely available? Will fans still sit and watch matches for 90 minutes if we know there’s a 95 percent chance it will be a 0-0 draw? And finally, and perhaps most importantly, will analytics remove the very thing that makes sport so appealing – its unpredictability?

This article has been republished with permission from SAS.