Big Data – application into sports industry

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Last Tuesday 24th of October i had the chance to attend to the event that the people from Qlik put together for us in order to learn how the company works and some different case studies about application of big data that would help us to have a better and broad idea of the possibilities that you can have by organizing it using Qlik methodologies.

Qlik is a company that transforms big sets of data into visual information, guide analytics, applications… makes information easier to read and understand. In this event all sorts of companies came together to expose their situations and how much they improved when adding Qlik to their strategy. There was one that specifically got my eye, that was Goals 4 Goals. Spanish company that uses Big data and through certain algorithms turns it into decisions within the sports, media and betting world. Whereas football, basketball, swimming… you name the application. That is what is going to be discussed today, application of big data and how can influence professional teams in sports.


Manu Ferrer, Alfredo Ruiz and Emili Bonilla were in charge to introduce to the audience such idea. The world of sports has evolved a lot since new technologies and digital systems took place, specially everything that surrounds the scenario of the play, whereas is directly related or not, from coaches, assistants and conditioning coaches to journalists, experts, media and betting shops.

If we compare for example US with Spain in that aspect, we have a lot of work to catch up with them. How nice is to be watching your NBA or NFL team and comment on actual and live stats that help you to break down the game easier?

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That simple concept believe or not is quite far from our current position and Spain is one of the only countries where it doesn’t happen. Germany, France or the previous mentioned US are some great examples of detail in terms of sport stats.


ESPN, FOX Sports, CBS, NBC Sports are only a few examples of great sport coverage and life stats in sports. Using the NBA games as an example, when looking at the stats, you can have a full picture of the tendency of the game without even watching the game itself.


Application of big data

Application of big data can be define by: 

+/- Is a system that states the value of a player comparing his contribution with the rest of the team.

Hot graphic – They show the area of the court from where the player has better percentages and has made more shoots organized in different colours. Green being his/her best area and red the worst.

On/off the court – A research tool used to compare a multitude of player or team stats while another player or teammate is On or Off the court.

As well as simple stats such as: number of three points made in the last minute of each quarter, total points, steals, Km done by a certain player.

All this amount of value information is impossible to have without big data systems. And by giving them the right algorithm to break the information down.

Goals 4 Goals is innovating and changing the tendency along with Qlik tools. The way you can display, create boards or scroll down your page allows you to have a better understanding of situations, events happening and do a better decision making.

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Continuing with the professional teams example, if a team wants to know how Messi is performing when “X factor “ happens we just have to compute the algorithm in the system and it displays all the data in simple and readable information obtained from that special element. What the application does is to personalize your board so you do not have all the stats of the teams, it refuses and eliminates all the extra information that might be presented and only shows your favourite team or whichever you are following.


Betting houses are starting to observe the application of big data and changing the traditional way that people had when putting money for a team or that certain situation will occur. Nowadays people do not bet much before the game or event happens, rather the tendency is to do it meanwhile the game is happening, you can bet when the next goal will be, who is going to be the striker, the final result, time of the next lap, the winner of the race… and to do that you need to have a huge amount of data and set it up properly for your inside systems.


The same understanding is applied for Media. Effective analytics is essential to track audience as they bounce from screen to screen, data and analytics are shaping the content that gets created.

Bottom line is ROI, and to achieve those you need to turn all those amounts of data into actionable information, ideas, meaningful decisions and added value to your company. Otherwise it will still be rigid and cold data.

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