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Big Data in Sports and Business: An Interview Between Experian and Diane Bloodworth

Earlier this month, our CEO, Diane Bloodworth, talked with Experian about big data in sports. Just like Competitive Sports Analysis is interested in analytics in sports, Experian is interested in the business of compiling, analyzing and transforming massive amounts of information into actionable insights. There are many parallels between the goals of these two companies, which were discussed in this interview.

Here are a few highlights from the interview. Interested in reading more? Check out the full blog “Smart Stats in Business and Sports.” Also make sure to follow along with our #DataTalk twitter chat Thursday, November 5 at 5pm EST between @scoutprofantasy and @ExperianDataLab.


What makes CSA different from other analytics tools and experts?

“For college coaches, our scoutSMART app imports data from existing recruitment systems and tracks original data to help coaches make better and more-informed decisions in real-time. More importantly, it helps coaches consider “fit” when recruiting……For fans and fantasy players, scoutPRO cuts through the chatter of pundits, bloggers and sports analysts to take the guess work out of fantasy sports. scoutPRO calculates skill ratings and converts them into fantasy points to give GMs numerical measurements for real time decisions.”

Is sports learning from business or is business learning from sports when it comes to Big Data?

“There’s a sharing of knowledge both ways. Right now, the business world is slightly ahead of the sports world in terms of real analytics, primarily because businesses are profit-driven and that drive encourages innovation and creativity. But, because sports are universally loved and understood, they are also a good conduit for people – including business leaders – to explore analytics and the advantages that come with them.”


How Analytics Impact Daily Games Players

Draft KingsIt’s nearly impossible this season to a game without seeing an ad for daily games sites such as Fanduel or DraftKings. And with their growing popularity and swiftly increasing user base, daily players are looking for that winning edge to finish each weekend with a victory. As most dedicated daily players know, it is mostly a game of skill, not luck. So where should these players turn for the extra advantage to take them from average player to consistent winners? Analytics.

There’s a revolution taking place in the daily games industry just as there’s a revolution taking place across all industries (not just in sports) to incorporate analytics.  Various fantasy sites are trying to find the synergy between analytics and daily games, but this can be done in many ways. It’s also important to make sure the right analytics are being looked at when making decisions, because as we know some analytics are more valuable and telling than others. Producing numbers just for the sake of it isn’t always beneficial. For example, looking at yards per carry isn’t as valuable for fantasy players as total yards produced by a running back. Yards per carry might be an important statistic for coaches when game-planning, but for fantasy owners, production (total yards, TDs, receptions, etc.) is far more important.

So how can analytics be used by daily games players? There are a few things that are important to consider.

  1. Strength of opponent: it’s always a good idea to stay away from a player if their opponent is particularly good at defending a certain position. For example, the Cardinals have an elite defense that leads the league in interceptions. So unless you are going to play an elite quarterback such as Aaron Rodgers, it’s best to avoid QBs that are facing the Cardinals.
  2. Value based on salary and projected points: PPD, or points per dollar, is a statistic that helps identify high value players each week. This number takes into account how many points a player is projected to score and their salary for a specific scoring system that week. scoutPRO is producing weekly reports that look at the value of each player based on their projected points.
  3. Opportunity: Sometimes opportunity is the best tool when assessing which players to draft. There are various things that impact opportunity, such as injuries or position competition. Last week, for example, Thomas Rawls, an unproven undrafted rookie, got the start at running back because Marshawn Lynch was out due to injury. He has no real history of success, but he was a great DFS play because he got a bulk of the carries in week 5 for the Seahawks.
  4. Ownership rate: One secret to winning in DFS contests is to choose the players that other contestants aren’t. This means finding some sneaky plays with high opportunity to fill your roster. If your roster is full of highly owned guys, you aren’t doing anything to set yourself apart from the competition.

4f44a45a-53f6-4334-b752-161e1a40ccdbThese are just a few things to consider when addressing the use of analytics in daily games as analytics can be created on an infinite numbers of data points in an infinite number of ways.

At a time when Draft Kings is in hot water after the recent revelation of a big Fanduel contest winner within their company, the use of analytics by their employees will be considered. If they happened to find that their employees used ownership rates or another statistic that involves some sort of insider knowledge, the company (and all DFS contest sites) could be in big, big trouble.

Interested in playing daily games or checking out the analytics produced by scoutPRO for daily games players? You can find some sample reports here.

It’s finally high school football season in Georgia!

ga footballIt is finally high school football season again in Georgia! I watched some of the kickoff games this past weekend and was very impressed with the level of play. But don’t be concerned that this high level of play is negatively impacting academics. scoutSMART, in conjunction with Georgia High School Football Daily, is recognizing the student-athlete of the week this season. The nominations so far are outstanding, and I am excited about our future leaders. The nominees so far demonstrate excellence in the classroom and expect impressive performances on the field. A special shout out to the parents, coaches and teachers who are such a great influence on these student-athletes! Check it out here each Friday when the weekly winner will be announced.

scoutSMART is looking for student-athletes with high academic accomplishments. Interested in learning more about how to enter your profile in scoutSMART? Follow this link and follow us on Twitter for all the latest recruiting updates and news.

-Diane Bloodworth, CEO of Competitive Sports Analysis


Delivering Predictive Analytics for the College Game

There is a lot of buzz about analytics these days in college athletics. We have spoken with a number of college programs that are looking for ways to leverage analytics, but many are not sure how to get started. Some teams have developed advanced analytics with assistance from other academic departments, although they aren’t sure how to leverage the analytics that are produced.

At Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA), our approach is to understand the goals of the program as well as the coaches’ approach to the game. We strive to deliver predictive player analytics that are easily understood and help teams win. The CSA approach incorporates “People, Process, and Technology”. We have found that all three are needed to deliver meaningful and accurate predictive analytics.

People – CSA has the right people involved in developing our analytics – this includes subject matter experts, such as an NFL scout for our scoutSMART football recruiting analytics, algorithm analysts, and software developers. We also involve the coaches by allowing them to select their preferences and what is important to their style and scheme of play.

Process – A good process ensures that CSA has a way to consistently produce and improve our analytics. The process clearly defines the roles and responsibilities to ensure that the analytics are relevant, accurate and valuable.

Technology – Patented technology allows CSA to deliver highly accurate predictive analytics in a scalable, yet customized manner. We have found a way to customize predictive analytics for each college athletic program.


Most professional sports teams have the resources (systems and people) to develop and use analytics. CSA’s customized, affordable approach can deliver valuable predictive analytics to college teams that are only available to the pros at this time.

If your college team is interested in leveraging player analytics to help you win, check us out here. And don’t forget to follow us on twitter!

Leveraging Athlete Tracking Technology in Predictive Analytics

The use of athlete wearable and tracking technology is growing, and a significant amount of data can now be produced for athlete performance. The next step is to leverage this data into predictive analytics that can be used by coaches for game planning and recruiting.

Here are some of the ways that CSA can leverage data produced from tracking systems into predictive analytics:

  • Optimizing the starting line-up
    • Predicting Readiness – An analysis of the athlete’s performance and biometric data can determine the “readiness” of a player for game day. Predictive analytics can incorporate this data into an analysis of the “optimum starting lineup”
    • Injuries – Performance data can be used to calculate the impact of an injury to the starting lineup and provide analysis on why a particular player is the best starter. Equally important is using this data to prevent injuries in the future or to prevent re-injury
  • Game planning
    • Coaches can use the data as part of the self-scouting process. The athlete performance data is an input into the analysis that predicts the strengths and weaknesses of the players against an opponent. This helps identify where team weaknesses need to be managed and opponent weaknesses can be exploited
  • Finding the “best fit” recruit or draft pick
    • Data points on the performance of the existing athletes on the team can be used to identify the weaknesses of a team and can be used in defining and targeting the “best fit” recruit that meets the needs of the teams

wearable tech 1 wearable tech 2









Interested in learning more about how coaches find the “best fit” players for their teams? Make sure to check out our coaching tool, scoutSMART, and follow us on Twitter for all the latest recruiting updates and news.

-Diane Bloodworth, CEO of Competitive Sports Analysis

The Challenge of Recruiting at Mid-Majors

The world of recruiting is cutthroat and intense, but it is a very important part of colleges and universities. The process of recruiting varies among each level, but each faces its own set of challenges. Factors such as geography, academics, financial aid, scholarship availability and student life all have an impact on the program and recruiting process. Coaches must take into account all of these factors along with the recruit’s athletic ability when trying to find the best fits for their program.

Large Division I schools, such as those in the SEC and ACC, face stiff competition for the top recruits in the nation, but the schools with a limited recruiting budget may face the most difficult challenges.  These schools are not going after the All Americans that are well known. They must find the athlete that fits their program as well as the school they represent. Being a student athlete at these institutions is much more than just having a “job” as an athlete. High academic standards make it especially hard to find the best recruits.  Coaches have to not only find the players that they like on the field or court, but they must also be able to handle the schoolwork on their own.

The relationship between the athletic department and admissions office ends up being a significant one as athletics and academics are equally important in the recruiting process. There are programs that exist, such as Frontrush, that help integrate the process for these two departments.  Both sides can look at the profile of a player and assess where they are in the admissions process, how their academics compare and what sports they are interested in.

The challenging piece to quantify in all of this is the combination of each factor. Some very important questions must be considered. Does this student have the academic background and grades to be able to do well at this school? Are they good enough to play on a team here? Do they need financial aid, and if so is this something we will be able to provide? Division I and II schools have the ability to offer scholarships to student athletes, although they do not offer nearly as many full rides as top Division I programs. Division III schools are not allowed to offer athletic scholarships, so the money side of recruiting is even more important.

At Competitive Sports Analysis, we recognize the difficulty, but also the importance, of coming up with a unified program that can help both the student athletes as well as college coaches. Finding the right fit is a challenge because there are so many factors that play into recruiting decisions. Through an application like scoutSMART, each side can find their “perfect match” based on what is most important. Check us out here, and don’t forget to follow us on twitter!

-Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

National Signing Day 2015 Wrap Up

National Signing Day was every bit as exciting and suspenseful as I thought it would be. We headed to the College Football Hall of Fame where many of Georgia’s top recruits gathered to share their news. Here were a few of my favorite parts about the day:

  • It doesn’t get much better than seeing high school seniors announce their exciting plans for college. Dressed in suit and tie with their proud mothers and fathers standing by, each player had the chance to walk up on stage to announce their college choice. Afterwards they all spoke with the radio hosts about their decision as their entourage cheered them on.


  • The College Football Hall of Fame itself is remarkable! The Touchdown Club of Atlanta announced that they would be hosting the “Biggest Signing Day Event in Georgia,” and the event definitely lived up to the hype. Over 150 seniors passed through! It was clear to see that Atlanta really does have some incredible talent right in its own backyard! There was even a mascot battle between the Chick-fil-A cow and Fumbles, the Hall of Fame mascot.


  • The rivalries at the next level are going to be classic. From SEC battles between schools like UGA and Auburn, to classic Division 3 matchups between schools like Sewanee and Washington & Lee, National Signing Day brought it all. This might be the one time we see guys from Tennessee and USC sitting side by side cheerfully before they meet on the field in the fall.


  • UGA and GT both pulled in strong classes and had representation at Atlanta’s biggest National Signing Day event. The Dawgs’ recruiting class is even in the top 10 overall for the class of 2015! Come fall, it’ll be exciting to see how the classes end up performing on the field. It is then that we will finally know which class ends up being the best. Recruiting is also more than just bringing in the most 4 and 5 star recruits for a team. Coaches have to bring in athletes that fit their system and that will perform well against top competition.


And just like that, National Signing Day 2015 has come to an end. The fax machines are being stored away for the next 364 days until it is time to unveil the class of 2016. However, for now, fan bases across the United States are rejoicing over their exciting new players for the coming year. And one thing’s for sure, all of us at Competitive Sports Analysis can’t wait to see what these new recruits will do at the next level!

Interested in learning more about how coaches find the “best fit” players for their teams? Make sure to check out our coaching tool, scoutSMART, and follow us on Twitter for all the latest recruiting updates and news.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager

Show Time – Predicting the MVP of Super Bowl XLIX

January is winding down, and for NFL fans that only means one thing: The Super Bowl is upon us once again. As we prepare for the big game this weekend (and the sadness that follows the end of football season), lets take a look at Competitive Sports Analysis (CSA’s) scoutPRO analytics to determine who will be the MVP for Super Bowl XLIX.

Now, in order to select the MVP, you must start by predicting the winning team. First, putting any team loyalties or personal opinions aside, we took a look at a review of the scoutPRO player analytics. These analytics incorporate both objective (statistical) and subjective data points on players and ultimately showed that New England has the superior team. In fact, most of the match-ups favored New England.

Assuming the New England win, the obvious and safe choice for MVP is Tom Brady. While it doesn’t take a crystal ball to predict Brady, diving into the understanding of the analytics is interesting. Once again, scoutPRO combines both objective and subjective data points. Tom Brady’s 2014 stats show over 4,000 passing yards and a completion rate of 64.1%. To incorporate the subjective skills of a player, we took years of player data and used regression analysis to determine what quarterback skills are the best predictors of performance. Through our research, the #1 predictor for quarterbacks is Game Management. This is definitely an area where Brady excels. While he doesn’t have great speed or rushing ability like Russell Wilson, he knows how to manage the game and win.

csa1The scoutPRO algorithm also looks at complimentary and offsetting skills and factors in injuries. And, with scoutPRO, players are not rated in a vacuum. To determine analytics for Super Bowl XLIX, scoutPRO looked at the offensive line around Tom Brady (complimentary skills) and the Seattle defense (offsetting skills). While New England’s O line has shown great improvement, Bryan Stork is battling a knee injury and missed the AFC Championship Game. According to Dr. Lalaji of Inside Injuries, knee injuries on offensive tackles are usually in the cartilage, bone, collateral ligaments or meniscus. In addition, stability upright under force is the most important attribute to an offensive tackle, and much of this force is placed on the knee vertically or with a twisting motion. Luckily, Stork’s injury has improved, and he was able to practice on a limited basis before the team left for Arizona. Dr. Lalaji says it’s important to remember though that Offensive line players tend to have many difficulties in blocking when they come back too soon from a knee injury. Ultimately, we believe if the O line is healthy, there is a positive impact on Brady’s performance.

Our look at the offsetting skills, however, reveals a record setting defense for the Seahawks. We are sure that New England will find ways to exploit the few soft spots in this defense, but the offsetting skills do have a negative impact in our analysis of Brady’s performance. Nonetheless, some of Seattle’s players are also suffering from injuries, most notably Thomas’ shoulder injury and Sherman’s elbow injury. Dr. Lalaji shares that shoulder dislocations are fixed by relocating the joint and getting an MRI to make sure that there is no cartilage or labrum injury. This process takes at least 3-4 weeks. However, since it is the Super Bowl, even if there is a minor tear, Thomas may just receive injections of pain medication and deal with the injury after the game. For Sherman, he is lucky not to have a complete UCL ligament tear. An outside blow to a full-outstretched arm directly to the elbow causes this injury. Again, injections and healing will allow him to play this weekend without much pain, but if the injury becomes aggravated it may require him to leave the game. Sherman was able to practice last week and as of right now expects to fight through the injury. Thomas has not practiced as much in the past two weeks, but he says there is no doubt he will take the field. Therefore, don’t expect these injuries to slow these guys down too much.

While talent plays a key role in winning games, we also know that it takes more than just talent to win. Both teams playing this weekend have outstanding coaching staffs and a will to win at crunch time. Ultimately though, based on our analysis, we expect the MVP trophy to be raised by Brady at the end of the night.

Want to see what we’ll be saying during the game? Join in on the conversation and follow @scoutPROFantasy on Twitter.

Happy Super Bowl Everyone!

Diane Bloodworth

- Diane Bloodworth, CEO of Competitive Sports Analysis

Fantasy Sports Trends to Look for in 2015

This past weekend was the Fantasy Sports Trade Association’s annual winter conference. While we were not able to attend in person (although we wish we could have had a weekend in Vegas) we did check in on the conversation on Twitter. From that we are able to provide you with some of the top fantasy sports trends to look for in 2015.

The demographics are slightly shifting:

-Teenagers are the fastest growing demographic, which means fantasy players are getting younger and younger and starting to play at an earlier age.

-Female representation was once again lacking at the FSTA conference, as noted by many twitter users there. While there are an increasing number of females playing fantasy sports, the gender gap is not improving.

-In 2014, over 80% of fantasy sports players were male.

-An important discussion was how daily fantasy sports needs to push back against the perception of the activity as gambling by focusing on skill. AJ Donalson, spoke at the conference and noted that the fantasy space was “pretty white and pretty male,” which doesn’t lineup with lawmaker demo.

The Daily Games are Exploding

-Talk of Daily Games dominated the FSTA Winter Conference, which is a good indication of where the fantasy sports space is headed.

-More users mean the need for more content from sites like scoutPRO. Daily fantasy sports players are also likely to consume more content than just season long players.


-During the conference, keynote speaker, Adam Krejcik made a bold prediction that in 2020 the DFS industry will be estimated at $17 BILLION. Now that’s a lot of money!

-Currently, only 1 million of the 41 million fantasy players in the US and Canada play daily games, which means there is a lot of room to grow.

-Krejcik also notes that DFS fits nicely in a mobile consumerscape dominated by Uber, GrubHub, Pandora, Twitter and mobile games.

Fanduel and DraftKings are dominating the daily space

-As of now, Draft Kings and Fanduel clearly own the daily space, but one participant asked “is there room for a third?” At this point, however, the answer is simple- No. Not without differentiation at least.


-Currently, DraftKings and Fanduel own over 95% of the DFS market share.

-Fanduel raised $70M and DraftKings raised 41M in funding during the 2014 fantasy football season.

-Just how significant is Fanduel’s growth over the last year? Here are some numbers and charts courtesy of Krejcik:

  • In 2014, FanDuel totaled $57,261,642 in revenue. They totaled over $621 million in entry fees and over $564 million in prizes.
  • The number of fantasy sports players continues to increase year over year.


  • The number of unique paying players on Fanduel was up 425% year over year.


  • Google Trends: Keyword searches on Google for Yahoo Fantasy Football is still drastically higher than for any DFS site, highlighting the opportunity for growth.


Ultimately, the most important takeaway from the FSTA Winter Conference is the growth and transformation of the daily games and where the fantasy space is headed. At scoutPRO, we understand the needs of daily games players, which is why our rankings and projections can be tailored to the scoring systems of Fanduel and DraftKings. We also have weekly position reports that assess the value of each player based on their matchup and salary that week. You can check out our site here, and be sure to follow us on Twitter for the best fantasy football content.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager



Yesterday, December 29, Competitive Sports Analysis, in partnership with The Touchdown Club of Atlanta, had the pleasure of hosting scoutSMART SELECT: an invitation only combine for metro Atlanta high school football players looking to play at the college level. scoutSMART SELECT is the only known combine to incorporate predictive sports analytics and provide its participants with a custom analysis based on their performance. This year we had 25 eager players join us for the day as they received their custom scoutSMART analysis as well as an evaluation of conventional measurables and drills. The day started out pretty gloomy, but once the combine revved into high gear, the clouds cleared and we had a beautiful, sunny day at Woodward Academy. Here are some of the top highlights from the day.

  • Mike Hagen, an NFL scout with extensive scouting experience, led the 25 athletes as they were given opportunities to showcase their strengths and show off their skills throughout the day. First, the participants received standard measurements including height and weight before going through four other drills: vertical jump, long jump, 40 yard dash and L drill. Once those were complete, the final task of the day was skill drills. Here the quarterbacks were able to show off their strong arms, the wide receivers flashed their hands and the linemen showed their explosion off of the line. Overall, the players were able to show off the strengths and skills needed to make it to the next level.

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 10.09.52 AM

  • Another feature of scoutSMART SELECT was an injury talk from our partner, Dr. Anand Lalaji, of Inside Injuries. During the session, Dr. Lalaji stressed the importance of allowing enough time for injuries to heal. Most importantly, he discussed the hot topic of concussions and explained why they are nothing to be taken lightly. He said, “It’s always important to remember that each time a player gets another concussion, the next blow to the head has more and more of an impact.”

Screen Shot 2014-12-30 at 10.25.02 AM

  • Ultimately though, the most innovative part about scoutSMART SELECT is the analysis that we are able to produce for the athletes. Each participant will receive a one-of-a-kind evaluation that includes a scoutSMART stat score and skill score, along with all of their times, measurements and an in depth analysis with expert feedback that can be passed along to coachers and recruiters.

Overall, we had a great time hosting the athletes and seeing their skills yesterday. Competitive Sports Analysis is the only company with a scouting and game planning system that combines historical tendencies and subjective experience to identify and prioritize the strengths and weaknesses of recruits. And scoutSMART SELECT definitely proved to be an excellent way to capture data points and help these kids get recruited. To learn more about scoutSMART be sure to visit our website and follow us on Twitter today.

- Virginia Zakas, product marketing manager