2013, you outdid yourself.
This past year was a big one for the sports analytics industry. The following articles highlight the growth of the industry. Whether you’ve read none of them or all of them, I hope you find them enjoyable and insightful.
Lights, Cameras, Revolution: In, arguably, the best piece of the year, Zach Lowe dives into the Toronto Raptors organization and their use of SportVU cameras. What was first used solely by the Raptors and a few others, SportVU cameras are now used by all 30 NBA teams and financed by the league.
Cavs are playing new sort of numbers game: This piece highlights the multiple benefits of analytics (specifically SportVU cameras) and its value on the business side. With all 30 NBA teams using SportVU cameras to track players and monitor performance, the Cleveland Cavaliers have gone a step farther. The Cavs began using the cameras to monitor fans – for business and marketing purposes.
Golf performance statistics are advancing leaps and bounds: “In golf's answer to Moneyball, a new breed of numbers-crunchers are changing the game.”
Industry standouts lead sports into new era of decision making: This piece from Bill Sutton gives a nice, short background on the history of analytics and the major people (Darly Morey) behind its growth.
A job that lets you hang with professional sports stars: This article from CNBC sheds light into the careers and responsibilities of analytics professionals. The piece is not necessarily ground-breaking or extremely revealing, however it’s a nice indication of just how far sports analytics has come. The industry has entered the traditional, mainstream media (CNBC) and the public.
Aggressive defensive plan has led to Pirates’ turnaround: The impact analytics had on the Pirates’ defense – and overall success. A look at defensive shifts, ground balls, and more.
Revisiting “Moneyball” with Paul DePodesta: Great interview with the assistant GM of the Athletics during their “Moneyeball” season. DePodesta talks about the philosophy of analytics and shares other thoughts.
Catching up: The increasing pace of team adoption of hockey analytics: If you’re at all interested in analytics in NHL, take a look at this article. It contains 20+ links to different articles explaining the presence of analytics in different NHL teams.
The coach who never punts: A (highly successful) high school football coach never punts. In this video, he presents the numbers behind his decision and how the analytics support his reasoning.
The Australian tech that’s improving the world’s best athletes: Well-established in Australia and Europe, Catapult and their GPS tracking system have experienced tremendous growth in North America. The company currently works with 8 NFL teams, 6 NBA teams, 1 NHL team, and 14 colleges.
The past year also saw the release of several analytics books, including Ben Alamar’s A Guide for Coaches, Managers, and other Decision Makers and Reed Kuhn’s Fightnomics: The Hidden Numbers in MMA and Why There’s No Such Thing as a Fair Fight.
2014, you’re up next.
Click here for a look at several analytics conferences coming up in early 2014.