Broadcasters and Data: A Predictable Marriage

Screen Shot 2014-11-11 at 2.14.34 PMHave you ever tried watching a sporting event without the sound on? The experience is totally different without the influence of the broadcasters. The way that we watch sports is changing and evolving year after year. Broadcasting is a transforming field that changes how commentators and viewers approach the game. Broadcasters now have an endless stream of relevant, real-time data to present to viewers. This data can be something as simple as the 1st down marker in a football game or hockey puck tracking to something as complex as tracing player movement and converting it instantly into real-time graphics. Viewers can have a much more up close and personal experience due to the marriage between data and broadcasters.

Without the influence of commentators, you as a viewer are left to come up with your own thoughts and opinions on the game. Broadcasters have a lot more influence than we often give them credit for on our interpretation of what happens in a game. The Big Data evolution is adding to the impact that broadcasting can have on a sporting event and each sport has its own way technological innovations and data are influencing viewing. Let’s take a look at baseball. 20 years ago, determining if a pitch was a ball or strike simply came down to what you saw or the opinion of broadcasters. Now viewers and broadcasters have the ability to use a visual strike zone to determine where a pitch ended up. In soccer, we can track if a ball crossed the plane of the goal, and in tennis we can now determine if a ball was in or out. This data leaves much less to chance and less room for assumptions and questions by viewers and commentators.

pitch zoneThere’s also far more complex ways that data now influences broadcasting. We have the ability to access in-depth player analysis in real-time as statistics are constantly being streamed. This information is not only valuable to coaches and players, but also to the viewers. Therefore, it is the broadcasters job to relay the data that we will find most valuable and interesting. A good broadcast has the ability to engage us and make us think, allowing our collective analysis to be more comprehensive. We become the expert. Advances are being made across all sports in capturing, storing and analyzing data, and this means that the marriage between broadcasting and data will continue to grow and evolve to cultivate a positive fan experience.

At Competitive Sports Analysis, we are always looking for new and innovative ways to provide highly accurate data and analysis across the sports industry.  To learn more and stay up to date with our analytics check us out here and follow us on Twitter today.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Tale of 2 Players with the Same Injury

Calvin Johnson Interactive Injury Locator

Calvin Johnson Interactive Injury Locator

We see it happen a lot: two players suffer the same injury, but face two very different roads to recovery. The question is why does this happen? To help fans understand, lets take a more in depth look into Tom Brady and Calvin Johnson’s ankle injuries.

Tom Brady suffered a rolled ankle with an ankle sprain. This is treated with stabilization, icing, anti-inflammatories and rest. For a quarterback, the ankle is a form of support, but it is not the most important part of his physique in relation to performance. There are multiple other parts that are more important, such as the shoulder. Calvin Johnson has also suffered the same type of injury this season. As a wide receiver, however, his ankle is one of the most important parts of his performance physique. Most importantly, the use of his ankle is crucial for initiating speed and for misdirection during a route or to plant after a catch.

Therefore, it is no surprise that Calvin Johnson has found it difficult to return to 100% performance. The amount of force that gets applied to the ankles for wide receivers is incredible. Tom Brady, on the other hand, did not miss a game and was able to perform at a top level. This is because his ankle has much less of an emphasis on his performance. Ultimately, while it may look the same on paper, comparing Brady and Johnson’s injuries to each other is not comparing apples to apples. In fact, it would be more of an apples to apples comparison if Tom Brady injured his shoulder.

At Inside Injuries we have downgraded Calvin Johnson’s report card from A- to C+ due to repeated ankle injuries. However, Tom Brady has stayed at an A-. As partners, Inside Injuries and scoutPRO combine the best of a player’s medical information with statistical analysis to predict accurate performance for fantasy football players that can help you win your league. For more information on how injuries may affect your favorite player visit InjuryReportCard.com and optimize your roster in scoutPRO today.

anand_lalaji - Dr. Andrew Lalaji, Founder of Inside Injuries and Chief Medical Officer of The Radiology Group

The Rise of “Wire” Stadiums

Believe it or not, getting people off the couch and into the stadium for a football game can be tough these days.  Even I admit that I like to flip back and forth from game to game, maybe even Red Zone, while also following along on Twitter or social media during games. But, with the rise of wired stadiums, everything is changing. Stadiums are being modernized to keep up with all of the new innovations in technology. Why? Because that’s what the fans want. Teams are finally addressing the concerns, and wired stadiums are become more prevalent and complex.  I also love the competition between teams to come up with the next best thing.

Here are a few of the coolest and most important ways stadiums are becoming “wired” to keep up with the times and get fans to games:

1. The Internet- This one is simple. We can do whatever we want with the Internet. Whether it is tweeting a snarky comment while at the stadium or checking up on your fantasy football team, the Internet allows us to stay connected, and isn’t that what we all want? Not to mention, we have to be able to post our favorite photos to social media. The new Atlanta Falcons stadium is even rumored to have a huge 360-degree high definition LED Twitter feed around the stadium, shown in the photo below. How cool would that be?

Falcons

In addition, a Cisco report revealed that one in three college students and young professionals view the Internet as being as important as air, water, food and shelter. Even the NFL front office is stepping in, asking its stadiums to provide free Wi-Fi access to fans by 2016.

The chart below shows how quickly data usage is increasing each year at the Super Bowl, and NFL teams are taking note.

AT&T

2. In-Stadium Apps- The 49ers brand new stadium is cutting-edge.  On top of incredibly fast Internet and a sweet fantasy football lounge, there’s an app at Levi’s Stadium that allows fans to stay super connected to everything going on throughout the stadium. Highlights include allowing fans to watch replays from the team’s 13-camera in-stadium broadcast, using GPS to locate the nearest craft beer or restroom, and even the ability to order food, which can be delivered right to your seat. Now that’s what I call convenient!

3. Big Screens- With big HDTVs becoming increasingly affordable, people can watch the game from their own comfy couch and have a nice picture.  So what are these wired stadiums doing to compete? They are building screens that are bigger and better than anything seen before.  The Jacksonville Jaguars have two, yes two, screens that are 60 feet high and 362 feet wide, one in each end zone. Before them, it was the Dallas Cowboys with the biggest screen measuring in at 72 feet high and 160 feet wide. Now it’s a constant game of trying to one-up the newest big screen.

4. Fantasy Sports Lounges- The 49ers revealed their Yahoo Fantasy Sports Lounge when Levi’s stadium opened earlier this year, and the Falcons are following in their footsteps. When their new stadium opens in 2017, it will also have a fantasy sports lounge.  These serve as a spot where fans can watch the game while staying connected to what is going on around the league.  The popularity of fantasy sports is increasing year after year, and fans want to be able to stay up to date with everything going on relating to their favorite players. On top of this, the Falcons are expected to debut a 100-foot sports bar and vibrating seats.  Sounds pretty awesome to me!

All of these innovations support the goal of keeping fans wired and connected to all things inside and outside of the stadium. The big execs sure are thinking of it all to keep fans interested and coming back. Old stadiums that aren’t “wired” will soon be left in the dust as new, innovative stadiums are popping up each year.  From Jerry World (aka AT&T Stadium) to the unfinished Falcons stadium, new technology is debuting all over the place so sports fans can get off the couch and into the bleachers (or vibrating seats) to cheer on their favorite team while staying connected to the outside world.

Be sure to check out Competitive Sports Analysis to see the innovative ways we are combining sports and technology.  We love all of the things stadiums are doing to keep fans “wired,” and we are finding ways for our data to be a part of the transformation. Follow us on Twitter today!

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

 

 

A Closer Look at the 49ers Fantasy Football Lounge – Where Technology and Football Intersect

fantasy sports lounge 4How appropriate that Yahoo!, based in Silicon Valley and the number one destination for fantasy football General Managers (GMs), is sponsoring the Fantasy Football Lounge in the 49ers new stadium.   The lounge accommodates 1,400 to 1,600 fans in the luxury suites, and includes flat screens, charging stations and Wi-Fi so fantasy owners can monitor their teams while at the game.

From the looks of it, the 49ers Fantasy Football Lounge appears to be a win-win for everyone involved! A win for the NFL as teams compete with the reality that many fans stay at home or go out to a bar to watch the games. A win for the 49ers in terms of sponsorship with a successful Silicon Valley digital company. A win for Yahoo! as they combine a digital and physical presence in a sports venue. And lastly, it is a win for the fans that are fantasy football GMs, but haven’t been able to attend games AND manage their team at the same time. Ultimately, the sponsorship and focus demonstrate the continued fantasy football lounge 2influence of fantasy football on the NFL.

At CSA, we are always looking for innovative ways to combine sports and technology. Our sports data ticker can transform a sports bar into a Fantasy Football Lounge with a feed of our real-time scoutPRO fantasy point predictions and injury report. CSA may not have invented the Fantasy Football Lounge, but we are finding ways to creatively provide the same type of experience outside of Silicon Valley.

Diane Bloodworth- Diane Bloodworth, President & CEO

2014 Fantasy Football Trends

With the 2014 football season upon us (who else is excited for NFL kickoff tonight?) we are seeing a variety of up and coming fantasy trends that we just had to share.  So sit back, relax and keep reading to see the list of our Top Fantasy Football Trends:

  1. Fantasy football participation is growing and growing and growing
  • Fantasy sports are attracting teens and younger kids because it enables them to capitalize on their favorite hobby – social networking.
  • Fantasy sports are also gaining popularity with women. Some are doing it because it is an interest of their boyfriends or husbands, but others just simply like football and find it a good way to engage.
  • In 2013, Ad Age estimated that the fantasy industry would generate more than $1 billion in revenue, and in 2014 that number will be even larger.
  • In 2013, the “derivative” market, fantasy football, had already grown larger than the foundational market, the NFL. According to the FSTA, fantasy football players spend roughly $11 billion annually, while the NFL’s annual revenues are closer to $10 billion.
  1. In a recent study by Fortune, they estimate that fantasy football could cost businesses $13.4 billion per season
  • Here is how they came up with the estimate: “The firm estimated 18.3 million employees play fantasy football on the job for two hours each week and multiplied that by the Bureau of Labor Statistic’s $24.45 hourly wage average. The result: $895 million lost each week.”
  • Other studies estimate that the average player spends up to 3 hours per week setting lineups and researching for their team.
  1. The NFL and its teams are jumping on the bandwagon and embracing fantasy sports
  • The 49ers are leading the charge. Their new stadium includes a fantasy sports lounge that will include Wi-Fi so GMs can stay up to date on how their players are doing.
  • The Jaguars are following their lead with a fantasy football lounge of their own that includes 20 HD TVs showing other live games and the popular NFL Red Zone.
  • Fantasy football is good for the NFL- According to the Fantasy Sports Trade Association (FSTA) there are over 41 million people in the U.S. that play fantasy sports and 80% of those play fantasy football.

  1. Yahoo continues to be the most popular site for fantasy sports leagues, but some users aren’t happy with the site and are considering a switch to other fantasy powerhouses
  • Yahoo, ESPN and CBS are the largest hosts for fantasy sports’ leagues.

Fantasy Trends 1

  • Yahoo recently received a wave of angry tweets during a site outage on one of the biggest draft nights of the year. Some tweets even included threats to head on over to ESPN or CBS.

Fantasy Trends 2

  • Yahoo, who controls nearly 20% of the sector’s revenue, is the single largest player in the Fantasy Sports Services industry. In 2014, the industry is estimated to generate close to $1.4 billion in revenue in the United States alone.
  1. Daily games are gaining popularity
  • Daily fantasy sports take hours to choose a team, not months. And if you have a bad day, it won’t hurt you all season like a bad draft would.
  • FanDuel, the biggest daily fantasy site, said that it recently raised $70 million in an investment round just one week after its biggest competitor, DraftKings, announced $41 million in new funding.
  • FanDuel expects almost 600,000 people to use its site this year.
  1. NFL Comissioner, Roger Goodell, is handing out harsher punishments for various offenses, which means fantasy GMs have to be on their toes
  • Wes Welker just received a 4 game suspension for use of amphetamines, Josh Gordon is out for the year, and Matt Prater is out 4 games for violating the league’s substance-abuse policy.
  • These guys were all top fantasy picks last year, but are they worth the risk now? (Gordon clearly isn’t after losing his appeal)
  • Ray Rice’s minor punishment, a 2-game suspension for domestic violence, recently caused a fury of backlash towards the league, but those who have drafted him will be happy to hear he won’t be out of their starting lineup for long.

These fantasy sports trends reflect the overall state of the industry.  Numbers are growing across the board, whether it is total participants, time spent, money for league fees or the amount of money invested in the industry’s leaders. Ultimately, 2014 should be a big year for Fantasy Football.

Since the industry is growing so fast, it is harder than ever to gain the upper hand.  Subscribe to scoutPRO today and take full advantage of all that we have to offer so you can dominate your league!

- Virgina Zakas, product marketing manager

How Predictive Analytics Have Changed the Game for High Stakes Pros

scoutpro fantasy football softwareFantasy sports are developing and evolving each and every year due to predictive analytics. Fantasy pros combine intense and extensive film study with statistical analysis to come up with their own player rankings and predictions for the season in order to win a variety of leagues they are involved in. As predictive analytics become increasingly common and accessible, more high stakes players are joining in on the fantasy sports craze. These fantasy players have no offseason. They must analyze everything from previous seasons’ statistics to the combine to offseason personnel changes, and they are finding ways to distinguish their method of evaluation in order to gain an edge.

High stakes leagues aren’t the only area of growth for fantasy sports; daily games are also becoming increasingly popular. In a Bloomberg article earlier this year, Erik Matuszewski notes that daily fantasy sports have exploded over the last couple of years. In 2012, participants spent over $3 billion on products, services and fees. By the end of last season, Fanduel, a leader in one-day fantasy sports, was averaging around $6 million in weekly payouts to its user.

Daily games, high stakes leagues and other season long fantasy leagues appeal to a range of participants. The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that over 42 million people have played fantasy sports in 2014, and the average fantasy sports player has these demographics:

80% male
89.8% Caucasian
51.5% Not Married
Average Age 34
College Degree or More 78.1%
Years in Fantasy Sports 9.51
Hours Consuming Sports per week 17.89
Hours Consuming Fantasy per week 8.67
Favorite Fantasy Sport: Football (69.4%)
Pay League Fee 46.9%

Additionally, around 75% of players use information from between 4 and 6 sites, supporting the idea that research and predictive analytics from various sources are increasingly important. Players are looking for information from many different avenues to compile the most accurate and well-rounded data possible.  The FSTA also broke down how much fantasy players spend on entry fees:

figure 6

Simply put, gone are the days where fantasy sports are just for fun. Many participants are now looking to earn a buck (or hundreds of thousands!) by joining leagues with entry fees ranging anywhere from one to thousands of dollars.

Not surprisingly, the rise in popularity of fantasy sports is having an impact on the professional teams they rely on. Peter King of Monday Morning Quarterback says that one of the most interesting things he heard in week one of the 2014 NFL preseason is “the undue pressure some players and coaches feel from big-money fantasy football players. I had one coach tell me there’s so much money in some of these fantasy-football playoff pools that people who used to gamble with bookies illegally are now gambling in high-stakes fantasy-football leagues, which is not illegal.” Fantasy sports focus on the individual players, not the overall success of a team; therefore, the final outcome does not have an impact on fantasy owners. To many football fans, fantasy is now more important than the performance of their favorite NFL teams.

The rise in popularity of fantasy sports is only increasing with each season.  Predictive analytics are applicable for every type of fantasy league, whether it is daily games or high stakes leagues. Television networks are even buying into the idea that fantasy sports are important, and new shows dedicated solely to this growing industry are being created. NFL offices are also exploring options to embrace this phenomenon, and the 49ers are leading the charge.  Their new stadium will feature a fantasy football lounge so fantasy GMs can keep tabs on their players.

Ultimately, in order to be a successful fantasy player, research, research, and more research is necessary, and predictive data is helping to change the game of fantasy sports each year. As more people and institutions embrace fantasy sports, it will become harder and harder to create an edge. By incorporating accurate predictive data, however, fantasy players are able to find a way to get ahead of the game.

Interested in taking your fantasy sports game to the next level? Get your scoutPRO subscription today.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Pass the Remote: Fantasy Football Comes to TV

Since its emergence in the early 90’s, modern fantasy football has been considered a computer-based activity as tens of millions of players huddle around their laptops each week to secure their bragging rights. But that’s all changing as fantasy football takes to the airwaves with new television broadcasts debuting this fall.

As FSTA president Paul Charchian said in a recent association newsletter, “These moves are fantastic for the industry as they bring fantasy sports into the living room in a way that hasn’t happened before.”

Until now, ESPN2 has aired the only dedicated fantasy football TV program – Fantasy Football Now. In addition, CBS Sports and Yahoo! Sports have broadcasted online fantasy shows during the NFL season. But beginning this fall, several new channels and programs are slated to air, including:

 

FNTSYFNTSY Sports Network – In June, Cablevision announced that it is now airing the first channel in cable TV history dedicated solely to Fantasy Sports. If you love SiriusXM’s Fantasy Sports station, you’re in luck – the popular “RotoExperts in the Morning” will be simulcast on the new network.

Fantasy Zone

 

Fantasy Zone – DirectTV is also jumping on the bandwagon and its new Fantasy Zone channel will be available only to NFL Sunday Ticket Max subscribers on Sunday afternoons.

 

So what content can viewers expect when they tune in? According to our own industry-first fantasy research, 79% of fantasy football GMs check their lineups very frequently. These players are seeking highly statistical and accurate information to make roster decisions, which is why 58% of survey respondents subscribed to a fantasy site and 68% of those who subscribed are using two or more sites. Simply put – fantasy GMs want accurate player data and we expect these new fantasy TV programs to serve up meaningful analytics that give GMs a cutting edge.

At Competitive Sports Analysis, we not only give scoutPRO® subscribers access to our highly accurate data, but we also package our predictions and license our data to entertainment sites, broadcasters, app developers, retail venues and more. Learn more.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Top Takeaways from the FSTA Summer Conference

A few weeks ago, some of the nation’s top companies headed to San Francisco for the Fantasy Sports Trade Association Summer Conference.  Highlights, other than the beautiful weather, included new statistics on the rise in number of fantasy sports players and the adoption of a new set of best practices.  These apply to all FSTA members but are especially geared toward companies like scoutPRO that have a paid-entry business model.  There are also an exciting number of conversations going on about the importance of considering fantasy sports when building NFL stadiums. As Jeff Collins from Fanmouth noted, the 49ers and Vikings are looking to create an environment that is friendly toward fantasy sports players and invest in ideas that create a “customizable fan experience.”  This may include anything from Yahoo Fantasy Sports lounges to charging stations in stadium seats (we all know how fast cell phones die these days.) What I find to be the most exciting part about this is that NFL teams are recognizing the value in supporting the fantasy sports industry, and they want to make fantasy GMs happy!

Here are some of my favorite statistics and topics from the conference through twitter:

1. There are over 40.5 million fantasy players. Even more impressive, that number is up 5 million from last year! – @JoeTall

csa blog 1

2. Legal issues are always on the table when considering fantasy sports.

csa blog 2

  • Many, but not all, traditional forms of fantasy sports are likely legal under federal gaming laws.
  • Some states’ regulations are stricter than federal law and need to be analyzed separately.
  • It is not always safe to rely on other fantasy contests’ lists of prohibited states to determine where play-for-cash fantasy sports are illegal.
  • New businesses should innovate with caution, as certain unique formats of fantasy sports are more risky.
  • Even where states are not aggressively prosecuting fantasy sports, business owners should be aware of qui tam lawsuits by private plaintiffs.

See Marc Edelman’s full take in Forbes here.

3. 10 ways to know you are a fantasy addict

csa blog 3

csa blog 4

4. A network dedicated solely to fantasy sports is about to launch.

csa blog 5

5. Ever wonder what the main reason is for why people don’t play fantasy sports? It’s time consuming.

csa blog 6

Las Vegas is up next for the winter FSTA conference. I can’t wait to hear how all of the innovations in fantasy sports are doing as the football season is winding down in January.  The NFL season will be here before you know it!

Don’t forget to connect with Competitive Sports Analysis on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROfantasy before your draft for some tips on the upcoming season!

- Virginia Zakas, Product Marketing Manager

WEBINAR INVITE: Learn more about how your team can pilot scoutSMART

Early this summer we introduced scoutSMART as an easy way for collegiate coaches to compile and analyze data quickly and decisively.  Now, we’re offering coaches and teams the ability to test out our unique data and content for FREE through scoutSMART pilot programs.

This month, CSA will team up with its first pilot to put scoutSMART to the test. For three months, the pilot team’s coaches will be able to rate potential recruits on individual skills levels, track and integrate available player data and more at no charge, all while having personal input on the efficiency and quality of scoutSMART.

Interested in learning more about piloting scoutSMART for your own team? We invite you attend an exclusive Coaches Webinar.

CLICK HERE TO REGISTER

Details:

Thursday, July 17 at 2 p.m.

Featuring: Diane Bloodworth, CEO + Founder of CSA and Mike Hagan, former NFL executive.

We’re looking forward to sharing our insights and gaining perspective from you!

How the Use of Analytics Can Improve App Engagement

Avg. TimeDid you know that according to Nielson, the average American spends 34 hours a month on mobile devices and other countries, such as the UK and Italy have even higher hours of mobile usage? In addition, a recent report on mobile usage claimed that over 80% of time people spend on smartphones is spent using apps. This focus on mobile provides an abundant amount of new opportunities to engage, entertain, and build loyalty. While the current focus is to use analytics to measure engagement, here are three ways that analytics can improve engagement in sports apps:

1. We love to compete and compare – App users (and especially users who are sports fanatics) love to test their knowledge and compete with other users. For example, a sports app can leverage predictive analytics from Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA) for player performance and ask users to predict which quarterback is going to have the most receptions in a game. Not only does this engage the app’s users, but it also gets them to check back later on to determine how they did against other participants and the computer in predicting the quarterback’s performance.

Mobile2. We value a source of unique and interesting stats and analytics – It’s simple. We like stats. They provide believable and factual content. But what we really value is a source of unique analytics and an app that provides this information about players we like and follow. We can then take this knowledge and
share it with others. Not to mention, we all love to impress others and hear someone ask, “how did you know that?” every once in a while, right?

3. We are fascinated by measuring performance – We live in a culture were we like to be able to quantify performance, both physical and mental. The recent proliferation of devices, such as Fitbit and Fuelband, to measure our physical activity and sleep supports this claim. I even have to admit to dancing around my bedroom late at night in order to hit my 10,000 steps for the day. CSA’s ability to predict and quantify athletes’ performance can be leveraged to improve engagement, especially in sports apps.

Overall, it seems that our love of computer generated analytics plays to our human needs – and isn’t that what engagement is all about?

As a leading provider of predictive data for sports we are excited to offer data licensing options that allow for engagement of sports fans with a gamified web or mobile-based portal. To find out more make sure to connect with us on LinkedIn and follow @scoutPROFantasy on Twitter.

Diane Bloodworth - Diane Bloodworth, Founder & CEO