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There is a funny exchange as seen in a native movie wherein a vagabond takes shelter in a temple and manages to employ a runaway teenager to run errands for him to get ‘free’ breakfast, lunch and dinner from temples that provides food as religious offering to be consumed by worshippers after worship. Initially, the starved teenager assents and accepts to do the rounds by collecting food and shares with his ‘master’. One day, frustrated to be at the beck and call of the ‘vagabond’ who just sits and does nothing but instructs him to go to a particular outlet to collect ‘that day’s food offering’, the teenager puts his foot down and refuses to move a muscle. “Why should I have to share with you when you don’t as much lift a leg? Why can’t I just eat it all?” The vagabond smiles “son, I agree you can eat it all yourself. What about the next meal? Who will offer where? You see, that’s where my value-add comes into play. I don’t merely sit on my bottom. I alone know on which day, what time, who will offer you what? How is that?” Tapping his head, he smirks “the database is right here and that’s why I sit and you sweat. Got it?  Now get going.” 

Big Data – some insights.

The precursor to Big Data analytics undoubtedly is predictive analysis. The Brad Pitt starrer Moneyball, which went to become a box-office hit, employed empirical statistical analysis using to analyze the potential of a player, and also predict about performance. As they say every picture has a story behind, and now every second is snapped when you factor that in the blink of an eye the ball gets passed, thrown, kicked or creamed.

Big Data provides that window to analyze in any role one may choose - player, coach, fan, viewer, stakeholder, analyst, economist and the list goes on. We live in this digital age where there is a downpour of data that is ‘humungous’ in size and count keeps climbing.

Big Data and Sports

Remember the good old days of  Tennis, when hard heavy wooden racquets.  Bjorn Borg vs McEnroe matches at Wimbledon are truly legendary, and in fact holds the record for tie-breaker,  and check the latest play and notice the racquets are the most advanced lightweight  carbon fiber composites with powerful guts. Its more power play now. Times have changed and so has technology. 

The  comments made by Cynthia Rudin, associate professor of statistics at MIT condenses the essence of Big Data and its impact in sports “Sports are watched by millions and millions of people - yet, pretty much all of the strategic decisions are made by humans in a split second. These decisions could definitely be enhanced by learning from past data, but humans can’t keep large databases in their heads. I wanted to build predictive analytics tools to help teams make these decisions,”.

“If we know, for instance, that in certain circumstances, a particular coach on the opposition team tends to make a particular decision, then we can be ready for it,”   “Another example - we can place sensors all over a car while it is in training for a race, and use the sensor data to help a driver learn how to race better.”

It couldn’t have been said better. 

image courtesy: goo.gl/PzqKXU


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