Sport Industry Spotlight: Key Learnings on Data and Business Impact

02 Apr 2020

By: Sport Industry Group

As the first edition of Sport Industry Spotlight - a new series of interactive, insight-driven, online panel sessions to aid those wanting to upskill in sport business - took place, panellists and attendees alike dove head first into the world of sports data. Each Sport Industry Spotlight session is based on a category at the Sport Industry Awards and first up was the Data and Business Impact Award in association with Sportradar

Featuring input from some of the most respected names working in data and technology in sport, including two representatives from organisations shortlisted for the Award, the webinar brought together Gareth Balch, Chief Executive, Two Circles; Simon Banoub, Marketing Consultant, Sportlogiq; Michael Cole, Chief Technology Officer, European Tour, and Minal Modha, Consumer Research Lead, Ampere Analytics.

With the subject matter led by attendees, through a series of interactive polls and questions from the floor, the panellists discussed a range of issues regarding data best practice, as well as how fan engagement, sponsorship and performance elements can all be helped by a data-driven approach.

Attendees of the session told the panel that a lack of knowledge or expertise was one of the major issues they felt was holding them or their business back when it comes to the impact of data.

The War for Analysts

The growing appreciation for the impact of data has seen a ‘war’ break out for the best analysts, but for those smaller organisations who can’t compete, or for those on a budget, there was advice for setting up their own data operations.

Asking the right questions was key for Balch, who warned that ‘critical thinking’ is almost as important as the data science itself.

“Asking the right questions is much more important than even having the best data geek in the world,” he said. 

A sentiment echoed by Modha, who added: “The world of data is so democratised, there’s so much now you can do yourself on a limited budget and keeping it mostly in house. 

“If you do have budget, and you know the work of an agency will help you (because you’ve asked the right questions), that will make your money go further. The last thing you want to do is get data that’s missed the mark."

The Next Big Thing in Data

The panel also were also asked to discuss the ‘next big thing in data’. With technology in this area developing at speed, the coming years will likely see developments that disrupt all industries and place a new emphasis on data.

In the world of elite performance, Banoub predicted that the ability to collect hitherto unquantifiable statistics could be a ‘game changer’.

“The arrival of Computer Vision,” he said “ will be a game changer. It shows you the other options a player had when they made a pass, and also whether they were looking the right way when they played it. 

AI and machine learning will be game changing - and this, for example, will allow football teams to quantify decision making.”

Cole added: “It is key that organisations focus not only on the opportunities for their business but also their challenges. Machine learning and AI will allow businesses to cut costs and drive efficiency.

“Automating manual processes, for example, is the sort of area where this can play a key role moving forward.”

Sport Industry Spotlight is driven by genuine insider insight, and with interactivity built in throughout, the sessions make learning about the industry’s finest work both easy and accessible.

Join next week for Sport Industry Spotlight: Active, to talk all things physical activity, mass participation, and keeping the public fit – particularly in the current crisis, including:

Keynote Speaker: 

  • Joe De Sena, Founder, Spartan


  • Elaine Wyllie, Founder, The Daily Mile 
  • Tom Whiteside, UK Sponsorship Lead, Toyota
  • James Hogben, Creative Director, Limelight