Big data making a play in professional sports

With all of the hype surrounding cloud computing and data analytics tools, it's no surprise that professional sports franchises have implemented these solutions. Collecting digital information to develop game plans and training techniques could potentially change the outcome of a competition. Enough monetary capital flows through these franchises so that coaches, managers and business executives can benefit data-driven applications. 

Paving the way forward 
According to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, the university's annual Sloan Sports Analytics Conference attracted a sold-out audience of about 3,000 attendees, 10 percent of whom were athletes, coaches and representatives from some of North America's most renowned professional teams. Daryl Morey, an MIT graduate and managing director of basketball operations for the Houston Rockets, spoke at the event, claiming that big data has made a home for itself in athletics. 

The insight provided by data analytics tools allows coaching staffs to completely restructure conditioning regimens and play strategies. Baseball, which has a long history of statistics usage, are going beyond the capabilities of basic processing techniques. MIT alumnus Keith Woolner developed the value over replacement player metrics system now used by many Major League Baseball teams. Essentially, VORP demonstrates how much an athlete contributes to his team in comparison to a stand-in player at the same position. 

Met with some skepticism 
Although many franchises have capitalized on the benefits of cloud infrastructure, the majority of teams in the National Hockey League have yet to bring analytics into their arsenal. According to The Boston Globe, Brian Burke, president of hockey operations for the Calgary Flames, believes that a concise critique of the technology has yet to be produced. Although an honorary executive board member for the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, Burke still remains skeptical. 

"I think it's still an eyeballs business," said Burke, as quoted by the news source. "We watch for a lot of things in games that even video won't show."

The professional cited that most executives in the NHL look for humanistic characteristics he's not sure that data analytics could bring to the table. In contrast, Harvard graduate Eric Tulsky was consulted by the Nashville Predators on Corsi, the statistic that measures shot attempts and puck possession. 

Although video clips and basic scoring statistics are collected and placed onto cloud storage, the majority of NHL franchise managers still remain ambiguous of predictive technology. For now, it looks as if they may be slow to transition, but the future will push them forward nonetheless. 

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