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Dawn of the big data era in sports

Mark Lehew, Global Vice President Sports & Entertainment, SAP SE | Dec. 14, 2015
With technology, our ability to process incredible amounts of raw data is transforming professional sports at every level.

The evolution has also come to the teams and players themselves. Many scouts, coaches, and sportswriters used to trust just what they saw with their eyes. They didn't have any use for computers, or data. Until the teams that used data gained a competitive advantage and they started to win. This changed the game forever. It changed scouting, training, fitness, injury prevention, and contract negotiations.

Today, our ability to process incredible amounts of raw data is transforming professional sports at every level — from the fans at home, to the owner's box, and in the playing field — and that transformation is getting a big push from SAP.

SAP is working with teams, leagues and sporting event organisations to deliver entirely new digital experiences for fans. From player comparison and match up analysis tools for fantasy leagues to team and tournament apps that put fans at the centre of the action no matter what part of the world they're in, there's never been a better time to be a sports fan. They're demanding more and they're getting it.

And players, coaches and teams are stepping up their data A-game as well. After all, nobody wants to let down a sports fan!

SAP's unique HANA in-memory computing can process information up to 1,000 times faster than traditional platforms, to find patterns in data in the blink of an eye. Consider that a standard hour and half tennis match between two players creates an average of 60,000 to 70,000 records. And in one hour of soccer training, 77.7 million data points are captured and processed. These are insights that no coach, player or club with all of their experience, could possibly see.

SAP is co-innovating with sports customers to drive this technical transformation in sports. For example, the SAP Sports One solution launched in the summer is the first sports-specific cloud solution that includes team management, player training and fitness, scouting, and performance insights on a single, unified platform. Prototypes have been created to help teams and players predict and prevent injury. And SAP's Tennis Analytics for coaches, available exclusively to the Women's Tennis Association (WTA), is live and giving players and coaches a competitive edge right when they need it most during a match.


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