By Geoff De Weaver CEO & Founder of Touchpoint Entertainment Inc.


The chart shown above, courtesy of a recent IBM Investor Briefing, will give you a better perspective on the size of the Sports Market and the opportunity it could offer your business.

As you may remember from the article I posted 16 February 2016, BIG DATA is the best way to gain a significant advantage in today’s highly competitive professional sporting Industry and marketplace. (Click here if you’d like to read that first article again: )

I’m continuing to focus on developing winning strategies in Sports Marketing which combine Big Data and Analytics with a huge creative idea. Importantly, big data provides the insights and transparency while fans and sports fanatics generate the enthusiasm and momentum.

Additionally, as mentioned in Part 1, big data plays a critical role in allocating, attributing and communicating with the right people, with the right message and at the right time which delivers the right combination of ‘touchpoints’.

Big data delivers deeper insights, less guessing and more precision in predicting consumer behaviour for today’s marketers and businesses. This in turn leads to a gain in market share while delivering the potential for use on global scale.

But, let’s review and explore how other major sports are using Big Data for the new Competitive Advantage. The NFL, NBA and Nike are currently capitalizing on big data to obtain an ‘unfair ‘ competitive advantage over other competitors.

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Picture: The NFL is working to modernize players’ and fans’ in-stadium experience with big data, sensors, video and analytics


NFL and Big Data and Analytics

Today, the combination of high speed Internet, mobile, sensors, cloud, high-definition cameras and high-powered data analytics are replacing human statisticians and scouts to give coaches — and many fantasy league fans — an edge when it comes to predicting the score of the game and the performance of athletes.

NFL has been crunching big data since before the term even existed. That move alone, led to the dominance of the NFL in US Sports. As an early adopter all of their 32 NFL teams have benefited from this visionary move. Mining the data and using analytics has totally transformed and improved their scouting, education, and preparation for meeting an opposing team. Best yet, their fans and arm-chair quarterbacks love the depth and richness of the information now available to them, varying from pass completions, turnovers, yards gained running/throwing, etc.


Some of the key analytics used by the NFL fall into these categories:


  • Financial analytics – cashflow, profitability, sales forecasts
  • Market analytics – market size, market trends, marketing channels
  • Customer analytics – customer lifetime values, social media, customer needs
  • Employee analytics – capacity, performance, leadership
  • Operational analytics – supply chains, competencies, environmental impact
  • Bare business analytics – sentiments, text, correlations, player stats, league leaders, game highs, player bio’s, coaching information, player tracking and more.


The NFL recently announced a deal with tech firm Zebra to install
Radio-frequency identification (RFID) RFID data sensors in players’ shoulder pads and in all of the NFL’s arenas.  The chips collect detailed location data on each player, and from that data, things like player acceleration and speed can be analyzed.

The NFL plans to make this type of data available to fans and teams, though not during game play. The thought is that statistics-mad fans will jump at the chance to consume more data about their favorite players and teams.

In the future, the data collection might be expanded even further. In last year’s Pro Bowl, sensors were installed in the footballs to show exactly how far they were thrown.

Interestingly, the football video game “Madden NFL” uses more than 60 data points on each individual player to power its game simulations, including information about injuries.  At the end of the regular season, the engineers input the new data about the competing teams and run a final simulation.


The rise of Smarter +Better Decisions in the NBA


The rapid rise of Big Data in today’s NBA is also pitting the old school against the new school as the sport and Coaches undergo this analytics revolution.


Importantly, it’s this revolution that’s indisputably linked to the NBA’s growing, but controversial, reliance on data to measure a team’s likelihood of winning—a phenomenon vaguely defined as “analytics.”


Once, the dominant way of judging how well an NBA player or team would perform was the ‘eye-test’ and the organic, gut-instinct impression that came simply from watching a game unfold.


But, in 2016, the ‘eye test’ has been replaced by coaches and their backroom staff poring over formulas and figures to determine how many actual mid-range jump shots a team used versus attempts near the hoop, or how many three-point shots versus two-pointers. This information can then be used to predict the most effective methods and strategies for winning. (Just look at how Stephen Curry revolutionized the 3 point shots this past season!)

Most Three-Point Shots Made in a Single Season

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While some doubt the importance of the shift, there are still coaches and legends of the sport that reject the practice of analytics. They are still leery of how number-crunching can be used and how it will fundamentally change their sport. BUT, numbers and statistics don’t lie.


Big data solutions have also been applied to analyzing fan sentiment on social media and can improve interaction with the public and all fans globally.

“Engaging with our fans is the most important thing that we can do . . . making sure that they feel close to the game.” ~ Mark Tatum, Deputy Commissioner, National Basketball Association (NBA)


Here’s a quick review of how the NBA is using big data and analytics:

The NBA played its first game back in 1946, and the NBA has been generating excitement and loads of statistics ever since. Today, basketball fans have instant access to the NBA’s entire history of official statistics thanks to

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Note: Above illustrates how the NBA is using Big Data and finding ways to make sense of it all.


Watch this Video: Charles Barkley rips Rockets GM Daryl Morey, rants about analytics on: via @YouTube


Pro and college teams (and some major high schools) are also using so-called big data and machine learning algorithms to analyze games by reviewing images of each player’s activity taken at 25 times per second. Big data and analytics programs and solutions have dramatically helped sports teams and athletes to improve their performance as well as their relationship with fans.


Who else is using Digital Big Data and Social Media Marketing as a powerhouse for growth?


Companies like Nike, Fitbit, Adidas and Under Armour are now leading the charge AND the pack with their use of Big Data in their marketing mix. So too are Social networks like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, real-time analytics, or e-commerce sites which can deal with a lot of data. Their volume and velocity is only expanding and this fuels the necessity to better understand and use Big Data for major sporting organizations and other brands such as: FuelBand, Fitbit, Garmin VivoFit, Jawbone UP2, Microsoft Band 2, Misfit Flash and many others.


Among wearable fitness apps, Fitbit and Jawbone have consistently ranked ahead of Nike+ FuelBand and other wearable fitness apps in the marketplace.


In fact, through the innovation of Nike Plus, Nike has made an engaging platform where runners can interact with each other, share their data and learn from the insights derived from it. Since its launch in 2006, the platform has built a user based of over 7 million runners (Big Data Startups, 2013). They use the data from each of their subscribers to track consumer behavior and buying habits, as well as social trends all on a readable data interface.


Here’s a look at some of these innovative, Big Data products:

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Nike is one of the global marketing powerhouses that have spearheaded sports marketing to take digital and social media marketing very seriously. Nike established Digital Sport, a new division the sports giant in 2010 the global sports company, aiming to go further on developing new devices and technologies that allow sports users to track their data: personal statistics in any sport activity in which they participate.


This effort is part of a comprehensive global marketing approach that integrates the power of tech, big data and social media marketing various 360 degrees channels.

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So far Nike’s Digital Sport division best-known product is the Nike+ running sensor, the blockbuster performance-tracking tool developed with Apple (AAPL). And some 7 plus million runners now log on to Nike (NKE) to check their performance. The company Digital Sport also released its first major follow-up product, a wristband that tracks energy output called the FuelBand.


Digital Sport is not just about creating must-have sports gadgets. Because getting close to its consumers’ data holds exceptional promise for one of the world’s greatest marketers: It means it can follow them, build an online community for them, and forge a tighter relationship with them than ever before. And, market globally.


It’s part of a bigger, broader effort to shift the bulk of Nike’s marketing efforts into the digital and social realm — and it marks the biggest change in Beaverton since the creation of just do it, or even since a graphic design student at Portland State University put pen to paper and created the Swoosh.


Bottom-line, in order to be competitive and have a competitive advantage today and tomorrow, Big Data and analytics will be the game changer in all sports, whether it’s the NBA, NFL, Formula 1, Soccer or even sailing. 


In conclusion, a sophisticated system of data gathering, metrics and analytics now lies behind some of the world’s biggest NFL, NHL, NBA, Soccer and College sporting teams. In fact, if anything, the use of big data and analytics is accelerating dramatically. The use of data and statistics to gain a ‘competitive advantage’ will continue to grow because it can provide the key to winning teams and winning seasons.

Make sure you transform your business today so you won’t get digitally disrupted tomorrow.

Stay passionate, play big and win the day!



More About Geoff De Weaver:

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Hailing from New York; Geoff De Weaver is the globally experienced entrepreneur, global marketer, technology disruptor, digital pioneer, transformation expert, author, keynote speaker and CEO.

Feel free to get in touch with Geoff for further information:

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One thought on “BIG DATA + BIG IDEAS = BIG IMPACT TODAY (Part 2)

  1. Hope you guys like Part 2 of my recent Big Data article. Love to get your comments and feedback. Win the day and PLAY BIG! Geoff aka #DigitalPioneer #AskGeoff

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