Rise in Data Volumes and what this means for Sports Organisations (Blog 1)

24 April 2023

Blog 1 from our latest series by Information Governance Manager, Andy Nutting

In Andy’s latest blog series he takes a further look at the types of data being analysed for sporting purposes, whether too much data is becoming a hindrance and how sports can manage data more effectively.

Whilst I’ve been writing about the changing nature of how sports organisations use data in the digital world it’s clear to me that data analysis and digital marketing is firmly embedded in many working practices.

But what happens to all the data collected? How is it effectively managed? At what point will the sheer volume become a hindrance to effectively undertake data analytics? Do sports organisations think about this and have a strategy to manage it?

In the beginning

The word data has been around since the 1640’s. Derived from the Latin ‘data’ meant ‘a fact given or granted’. In the 1600’s John Gaunt conducted one of the earliest recorded instances of data analysis – he studied the death records kept by London parishes.

It took 300 years for data processing, databases, and data entry to join the lexicon in the 1950’s to 1970’s. Now the age of data is upon us. It’s labelled the oil of the present day and data is exploding.

The importance of data

Humanity’s current rate of data creation has us doubling the world’s data every two years, and the pace is expected to increase, not decrease. By 2025, the amount of data will double every 12 hours.

This wealth of data, created exponentially as we go about our daily lives, has the potential to change the ways we live, work, and invest. However, it’s argued that we must accept that as humans we cannot absorb all this data on a daily basis and we will need to partner up with artificial intelligence to augment our own capabilities. How comfortable are you with this?

What’s more, with this data explosion has come increased awareness of the need for security when collecting, using, and storing it.

The introduction of the 2018 General Data Protection Regulation emphasises the importance of privacy and protection of personal data. The need to protect data applies beyond the present day. It also needs protecting for future generations, so that they can learn from all we know today.

The rapid expansion of data brings about challenges with infrastructure and technology too.

In Europe more than 750 million people are using the internet, reflecting that 90% of Europe’s population is online, up from 65% in 2011.

The internet penetration rate for individuals is forecasted to increase further, especially with the growth of streaming services and mobile data.

The number of European businesses that used cloud computing increased from 19% in 2014 to 39% in 2021 and this is forecast to increase further and that roughly 72% of businesses will use digital platforms by 2025.

However, in my opinion the most interesting fact belongs to the consumption of data used and generated by machine to machine (M2M) connections driven by a wider rollout of the 5G network and the further integration of the Internet of Things (IoTs) connections in Europe. This is forecasted to be 406 million connections by 2025.

Therefore, it’s no surprise that data plays an ever-increasing role in almost every part of the sports sector.

One only has to watch sports broadcasting to know the vast nature of the role of data and statistics in the sport industry.

Indeed, the recently departed and much missed football commentator in the UK, John ‘Motty’ Motson, was a legend when it came to the use of statistical data and facts, who admitted to ‘overdosing’ on football data.

His trademark commentary at over 2,500 matches consisted of him reeling off statistics written on an A4 sheet of card.

No doubt if Motty was beginning his football commentary career today, he’d be using more up to date and sophisticated methods of data analysis. Anyone interested in sport broadcasting knows the vast nature of the role of data and statistics in the sport industry today.

An ever-growing number of people in sports are keen on embracing the power of analytics to attain any statistical edge they can find, giving rise to the sports analytics industry.

As sports organisations grasp the importance of data analytics as a key cornerstone of their business plan and to keep ahead of the competition, it is inevitable that they will store and manage more and more data.

This is likely to bring about challenges with the cost of data collection and data storage, and acquiescence to information regulations.

So, what kind of data analytics is being used across sports to produce this increase in data?

In the next article I’ll be looking at this in more detail and about the growth of data. Look out for this.

If you’d like support managing your organisation’s data, our team can help.

You can keep up to date with Andy’s blogs on his LinkedIn profile.