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July 1, 2015

The Big Business of Big Data

by Carlo De Marchis

Replacing the FIFA World Cup™ all-time top goal scorer with a 22 year old guy who has only scored once before in the competition, it takes guts. And with guts, you can eventually win a World Cup Final. Ask Joachim Löw.

Needless to say, big data is probably not enough to make key choices when you’re a top-class football coach. But, and there’s absolutely no doubt about it, it is one of the most useful, engaging, profitable type of content to handle in the upcoming years in sport.

3 steps to productive use of big data



With sport technology evolving day by day, the amount of information the human eye can record while sport happens has been boosted exponentially. Optical tracking, sensors and the internet of things cooperate to gather high-volume diverse data in the fastest way possible.

Just to give you an idea of the huge number of inputs that we can collect, the proportion of normal data points and big data points is 1 to 1000.


If it’s rough, big data is not functional nor profitable. The opportunity deriving from its enormous volume could become a weakness, if we don’t analyse the information properly.

On the other hand, an effective well-conducted analysis could lead to major benefits, like avoiding athletes’ injuries that result in savings and maximizing profits.


And in the end, look who’s back? The human. Interpretation is key to the conversion of data into valuable actions and/or content production. A good understanding of what statistics really mean is offering clubs new ways to boost athletes’ performances and it can also be used in a predictive manner. And as for the ones who watch sports instead of playing, big data intelligence directly leads to the big why.

If you are a pundit in a sport program or a journalist, big data is the perfect material to engage fans, consciously explaining what happens on the pitch or what is going to happen in the next game. And you can be accurate more than ever before.

Who can take advantage of using big data properly?



If we look at the rise of the performance analyst as an everyday more prominent role in today’s sport industry, we can surely see how important scientific data analysis is for clubs and athletes. The information gathered during yesterday’s training is key to getting ready for today’s game and to avoid tomorrow’s injuries.

Thanks to predictive analytics, players can actually outperform by simply using their mental and physical capabilities in a more natural, productive way. The smart use of technology does not de-humanize sport. Doping does.


In sport media, having more data at your disposal means mostly two things: greater material to build stories and more touch points with your audiences. Editorial teams need to identify the data that is most relevant to their users, readers and viewers; transforming numbers into compelling content.

Big data is a flexible matter that can be manipulated in different ways, looking for the most suitable form. An efficient visualization of big data can greatly enhance the possibilities of digital media coverage of live sport events; at the same time offering broadcasters new ways to engage fans. The smart use of technology does not kill broadcast. It gives users more choices.


And about users and their choices, sport can be experienced today in a lot of ways. On venue, of course, where people gather data mainly with their eyes, and use smartphones for additional information (when the network infrastructure is ready). On TV, with a second screen to live a more complete and connected experience, also thanks to big data.

And directly on digital media, following events through live streaming, editorial coverage and social networks, wherever they are. The smart use of technology does not alienate fans. It makes their experience seamless.


So, if you’re in the sport business, at any level, big data can help. A lot.

Unless you want to win a FIFA World Cup™ making the right move in the final minutes of the competition. For that, you probably need something more.


About the author

Carlo De Marchis
Chief Product & Marketing Officer

Carlo De Marchis aka cdm is the Group Chief Product & Marketing Officer, responsible for Strategic Product and Technical guidance, active in Business Development and Strategic Clients sponsor.

Innovator, challenger, visionary, curious, passionate, assertive, early-adopter.

Known for his fanatical user-perspective attention to the quality and usability of what deltatre delivers to clients and end-users. He has started to work for deltatre in 1988 and has participated to every step of its impressive growth. An early adopter of the web, since 1994, he is now driving the company efforts around social media and multi-platform digital solutions introducing the Holistic User Experience concept.

Has experienced the highest level sport events worldwide under different point of views and has lately been focusing on the deltatre’s Olympic efforts.

He lately focused on achieving wider business culture attending an Executive MBA and various other higher education opportunities with HBS and FIU.

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