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Broadcasters See the Light on Analytics

By: Andy Cooper

On the heels of the annual National Association of Broadcasters Conference in Las Vegas, this seems to be the perfect time to take note of what STATS believes to be a very positive trend in the industry: broadcasters are beginning to shift away from formulaic production and commentary, and starting to take advantage of big data. In today’s Moneyball era, savvier fans have made advanced analytics a must-have item in nearly every sport. And broadcasters are taking notice: without question, we’re seeing a growing interest in analytical data from our clients.

Stats, sabermetrics and graphics … they belong together! There is a lot of great data available these days that can help enhance a broadcast. The key is to identify content that is both illuminating and understandable to a viewing audience that is becoming much more sophisticated.

A good example of that is the “Just A Bit Outside” broadcast that FOX Sports 1 ran during last year’s MLB postseason, and which featured analysts commenting on the game from a sabermetric perspective. That alternative broadcast was very well-received, proving that there is a growing audience for an analytics perspective (and one which appeals to an audience that skews younger – something that broadcasters love). We think that’s just the tip of the iceberg.

STATS is known for supplying the unique in-game specialty data that broadcasters want to get their hands on as soon as possible. From our proprietary X-Info data – think sacks allowed and burned defenders in football and pitch type, velocity and location in baseball – to real-time updates for in-game graphics, we’ve led the way.

Context is key! The next evolution will explain to viewers why these newer metrics are useful in the evaluation of players and teams, while providing deeper insights into game strategies. Later this season, we’re going to provide pitch probability data for graphics/score bugs as well as career batter vs. pitcher pitch type tendencies – by count. This is neat stuff that gets us excited and, more importantly, will get the viewing audience excited as well.