9 Fascinating Facts About Sports Analytics
In your wildest dreams, did you ever think you’d have a shot at a career in professional sports? Well, it’s actually possible today, thanks to the booming interest in sports analytics—a market that's expected to reach $4.7 billion by 2021, up from $125 million last year. On a recent search, Indeed.com listed approximately 1,800 postings for sports analytics positions. While stat-loaded box scores are as old as the games, the impact of sports analytics grew significantly about 10 years ago with the concept of “Moneyball,” a popular term used to describe baseball sabermetrics (analyses of baseball statistics). As depicted in Moneyball, the book and Oscar-nominated film, the Oakland Athletics took advantage of advanced statistical analysis to go to the playoffs, despite being confined to a relatively low team payroll. Over the years, Moneyball concepts have spread to other sports, with teams now hiring analysts to gain a competitive edge. Of course, fantasy sports—in which users compete against each other to predict player performance, often with large sums of cash awarded to winners—have further fueled interest in the assessment of game data. Given the numbers, we dug up the following facts about sports analytics, showcasing a wide range of career opportunities and innovative developments within an eclectic sampling of sports. Our facts were compiled from a number of online resources, including those posted by the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference.