Computing Community Consortium Blog

The goal of the Computing Community Consortium (CCC) is to catalyze the computing research community to debate longer range, more audacious research challenges; to build consensus around research visions; to evolve the most promising visions toward clearly defined initiatives; and to work with the funding organizations to move challenges and visions toward funding initiatives. The purpose of this blog is to provide a more immediate, online mechanism for dissemination of visioning concepts and community discussion/debate about them.

How Sports are Embracing Big Data

September 6th, 2012 / in big science, research horizons, Research News / by Kenneth Hines

Big Data analytics at the 2012 US Open [image courtesy US Open].We’ve blogged extensively in this space over the last few months about the promise of Big Data science and engineering, including stories describing how very large data sets coupled with predictive analytics capabilities are transforming the way we use e-readers or leverage medical records to drive advances in healthcare. Now here’s an interesting new angle — the world of sports.

For all you tennis fans out there, IBM has launched a new analytics tool at this year’s US Open — SlamTracker — to help individuals better understand what’s happening on the courts in Flushing, NY. SlamTracker uses nearly 40 million data points from five years of Grand Slam tournaments to analyze and present each competitor’s performance styles and patterns (following the link):

US Open SlamTracker, a real-time stats and analytics visualization platform, is leveraging IBM’s predictive analytics technology to pinpoint three “Keys to the Match” that each player needs to come out ahead. Advanced algorithms analyze more than 39 million data points from five years of Grand Slam tournaments. Served with this historical data, each competitor’s performance styles and patterns are then indexed across the pair’s head-to-head record to generate the top three “Keys” each competitor needs to win.


The results are augmented visually with live game stats, giving you a deeper look into the state of play.

In fact, SlamTracker is part of a whole new suite of digital technology being employed at the US Open this year, to enhance the experience for players, fans, event organizers, and broadcasters. Here are the United States Tennis Association’s (USTA) Phil Green and IBM’s Rick Singer explaining some of the innovative capabilities:

And it’s not just tennis, of course. Soccer is also embracing predictive analytics and cloud computing to help evaluate individual performance during games. Consider miCoach, a device developed by Adidas, that allows coaches to track data on players — heart rate, speed, and distance — in real time.

These are just another set of examples of the “transformative new currency” that is Big Data science and engineering.

(Contributed by Kenneth Hines, CCC Program Associate)

How Sports are Embracing Big Data