The Sports Industry Before Analytics
Thinking of analytics and sport 10 years ago and the relationship between both would have been an afterthought. However, today it’s the norm in the sports industry. Why is this the case and what impact is analytics having on the sports industry? You’re even seeing sport organizations hiring 30-year-old general managers with an analytics background knowing the impact they can have not only on the sport organization, but with future trends with fans, players and coaches.
For example, 10 years ago, sport organizations definitely weren’t thinking about or considering hiring a sports industry professional who can break down numbers; however, trends and strategies have changed. These strategies and analytical measures aren’t happening in one sport either; you’re seeing the impact of analytics in the four major sports today. Yes, you can thank the professionals who thought up the idea and notion of Moneyball, however, I don’t think anyone could have guessed that the analytical impact would have been this influential just a short time later.
Analytics Jobs within the Sports Industry
So, the big question then becomes, what types of jobs are being sought after in relation to analytics and the sports industry? What are sports industry employers looking for in a young sport professional in today’s highly competitive job market, especially as analytics becomes even more popular?
As more sports organizations look to innovate, they are hiring more young sport professionals with an analytics background knowing the significance they can have on trends, fan engagement, ticket sales, player assessment, and other key factors shaping the future of the sports industry.
So, what are some current jobs within the sports industry with an emphasis on analytics? According to College Recruiter there have been jobs developed within sport analytics and the sports industry such as fantasy sports, sports media, weather technology, the retail industry, food and beverage, health and wellness, brand engagement, recruiting and mobile technology (Krumrie, 2016).1
Take for example the popularity of fantasy sports in today’s industry, which has grown significantly over the last 10 years. Not only is analytics and data analysis shaping the performance on the field, but it’s also shaping the way viewers and fans interact with others about those specific data points and analytical methods. Since more data and analytical measures are being developed for fans to better understand player performance, it’s just as important to have a sport professional provide these measures effectively to the public. Game and player predications are now being predicated on analytics and now, more than ever, you’re seeing this becoming a trend within today’s sport media content toward viewers (Krumrie, 2016).2
In the sports retail industry, analytics is becoming a popular trend and one that is being utilized more with athletes since performance is a key element and driving force in today’s sporting activities. Now, the use of analytics can measure speed, endurance, heart rate, etc. of athletes during sport activities and more brands and organizations are jumping on board, such as Under Armour. However, these sport brands and organizations need innovative and analytical sports professional minds to set the standard at which sports analytics are being measured, and this is where an analytics degree comes into play (Krumrie, 2016).3
In terms of health and wellness in today’s sports industry, health companies, organizations, and health specialists are utilizing analytics to better understand and analyze when and why injuries are occurring. More importantly, health companies are utilizing more analytical measures and data points to help prevent injuries from occurring in athletes today. Due to this data explosion within the health and wellness sector, more companies are looking to hire sports industry professionals with a background in analytics (Krumrie, 2016).4
One of the fastest-growing and trend-setter in sport analytics within the sports industry today is the use of mobile technology. More sport organizations are hiring sport professionals specializing in analytics to better understand fan engagement and interaction during and after sporting events. Since it’s all about connecting the fan/consumer to the game experience, it’s essential for sport organizations to engage in this process to stay ahead of the competition (Krumrie, 2016).5
The Future of Sports Analytics Jobs
The future is bright for those aspiring sports industry professionals looking to break into the sector of sport analytics after graduation. This is a field that is constantly evolving and each day more sports industry executives are seeing the potential and realization of hiring sport professionals specializing in analytics to benefit their organization short- and long-term.
Krumrie, M. (2016). 10 unique career paths for college grads pursuing sport analytics careers, pp. 1. Retrieved from https://www.collegerecruiter.com/blog/tag/jobs-in-sports-analytics/.
About the Author
Jason Becker has worked in the sport industry within sectors such as marketing, promotions, communication and public relations. He also researches ways in which sport organizations and brands utilize analytics to better performance, engagement, awareness and future trends that are occurring. He currently teaches within higher education in Sport Management and teaches courses such as Sport Analytics, Sport Communication, Technology in Sport, Facility Management, Research Methods in Sport, Sport in Society and Leadership in Sport. He has over 15 years of experience in the sport industry. Jason has a bachelor’s degree in Communication from SUNY Oswego and my Master’s degree in Sport Management from Canisius College.
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