We’re delighted that it’s baseball season – and not only because things are looking good for the Washington Nationals, our favorite team. The new season reminds us of how much digital analytics, big data and technology have revolutionized baseball as a game, pastime and business. Consider a few recent items:
SmartCard tickets for fans – the Nats use radio frequency ID technology (RFID) chips in smart cards for ticket holders to offer fans a more efficient experience with special benefits for loyalty. And of course the team gains valuable data and insights such as:
Just how many hot dogs did that family in Row S of Section 138 eat last month, anyhow?
Playing “Techball” – The San Francisco Giants, the defending World Series champions, bake data and analytics into every phase of operations, according to one of their executives:
“The formula is simple: Enhance the fan experience, improve the team’s performance and propel the business forward.”
It looks like we’ve moved into the Moneyball 2.0 era, which will offer business executives concerned with corporate performance management an idea or two.
And as we point out here, the team’s new video capture system tracks every single at-bat and play in the field and:
“[Has] generated about 5 billion records of data in three seasons – more or less the amount of data managed by typical banks.”
Gathering of the Tribes – Forget TED Conferences, the Aspen Institute or the World Economic Forum, we think the coolest conference on the planet is the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, with the SABR Analytics Conference a close runner-up. It’s intriguing to us that many of the research papers and presentations highlighted organizational concerns. Looks like the thought leaders in sports analytics share our view that success is as much about the people as the technology.
See you at the ballpark!