大数据正在改变篮球队管理

一休:“重视数据、运用数据的传统使NBA不断创新、发展至今天,有许多值得我们学习和思考的地方。最近中国的互联网企业纷纷介入足球,不知道会不会有一些大数据所带来的突破,期待下广州恒大淘宝队,哈哈~”

“顾客和粉丝(fans)两者的区别是什么?”在斯坦福大学商学院2014年4月初举办的首届体育创新大会开幕式上, NBA萨克拉门托国王队的主要持有人维韦克•拉纳戴维(Vivek Ranadivé)抛出了这个问题:“粉丝会把自己的脸涂成紫色(译注:国王队的主色),会主动去宣传散播……其他任何一个行业的CEO,都很渴望能在我们的位置上,他们很渴望能拥有粉丝。”

粉丝狂热有着与运动本身一样长的历史,体育联盟和机构现在使用前沿科技,不仅是打造能获胜的队伍,还要把他们顾客群的热情资本化,来发展另一项收入来源——企业赞助。以下是本次会议上提出的一些商业趋势。

一、大数据正在改变篮球队管理——以及比赛本身

十多年前,奥克兰运动家(Oakland A’s)这支美国职业棒球大联盟(MLB)球队(还有《点球成金》一书及同名电影),让一个观念变得盛行,那就是使用带预测模型的统计数据,来打造一支胜利之师。NBA球队比如圣安东尼奥马刺队(San Antonio Spurs),也使用类似的大数据系统帮助球队老板和教练招募球员,执行比赛计划。但是在2013-2014这个NBA赛季,SportVU多镜头追踪系统才第一次被所有球队使用。所有场馆都安装了这个由六个镜头组成的系统,以监测篮球和球场上每个球员的表现,并为场上的表现生成整个数据库。“这一年我们第一次拥有了数量超过分析能力的数据。”拉纳戴维说。他指出,本赛季搜集的数据比过去67年的总和都多。

这些数据正在改变比赛的方式,从以往对球员总得分的关注,转向关注球员的效率、每次触球产出率和防守有效性。“历史上,量化防守表现是有难度的。”研发出SportVU多镜头追踪系统的STATS数据有限公司副总裁布莱恩·科普(Brian Kopp)表示:“现在我们有四个镜头的图像帮你来做。”此外,数据也已经影响了球员在球场上的投篮类型。

金州勇士队(Golden State Warriors)的前锋安德烈·伊格达拉(Andre Iguodala)说,通过球探报告,他在使用数据评估对手的表现,但大部分的球员对此并不太在意。“有一些球员,如果他们想得太多,表现反而不那么高效了。”他说。换言之,这些数据最大的影响力,是帮助管理层打造一支有效的、由相互兼容性的球员组成的团队。

仅依靠数据分析是不能赢取冠军的,这是费城76人队总经理兼篮球运营总裁山姆·辛基(Sam Hinkie)的说法。还在休斯敦火箭队工作时,辛基就是篮球大数据的早期呼吁者。“从根本上来说,成功仍然在于你所做出怎样的人员安排。”他说,分析只是用来帮助决策者的工具。辛基指出,在每个球队都有同样深入的信息之后,未来获得竞争优势的方法,将是从其他行业找到分析技巧或技术,创新性地运用于在篮球上。“有趣的东西正产生沙丘路(Sand Hill Road,指风险投资家在硅谷的办公地),或是在美国国防高级研究计划局(DARPA)资助的项目里,或者是在对医疗保险的分析里。关键是要从其他地方把它求来、借来和偷来。”

数据分析同样可能对体育中的生物力学做出贡献。科普解释道,可穿戴设备能测量运动员承受了多大程度的物理压力,甚至最终可能预测受伤的可能性,这样运动员可以在受伤前就休息:“而目前,教练和训练员很大程度上是在猜。”

二、“智能赛场”兴起

企业正在寻找利用移动技术的方法,来提高在家中观看比赛,或在球场和运动场做观众的粉丝体验。思科系统运动娱乐集团(Cisco Systems Sports & Entertainment Group)的马克-克雷格(Mark Craig)说,移动设备作为在家看电视体育节目的“第二块屏幕”已经很流行,但也有70%的粉丝会把移动设备带到体育馆或赛场,并打算在比赛期间也使用它。思科已经参与研发可在用户密集情况下运行的运动场无线网络系统。

将于2016年开放的萨克拉门托国王队球场,会提供移动应用,用于验票入场、引导座位、提示最近的洗手间、特价窗口和升级座位的选项(与航空业已经在做的很相似)。球场还会提供无现金交易服务和坐席内的无线充电服务。国王队营销策略部资深副总裁本·冈伯特(Ben Gumpert)还表示,国王队正尝试运用无人机技术去寻找空余停车位,甚至提供特别的场内摄像机角度。

“体育做的是人的生意,所以我们正在想各种办法,用科技更多地与人打交道。”NBA球队营销与商务运作部副总裁约翰·阿巴蒙迪(John Abbamondi)说。这可能意味着,有一天当你通过扫描手机上的票进场时,一个提醒将被发给服务代表,让他们知道今天是你的生日,你最喜欢的一种鸡尾酒将会被送到你的座位上。“每个赛场都像是一个实验室。”阿巴蒙迪说。他们正在尝试新项目,以找出与人加深互动并创造新收入的成功方法。

沃德•布拉德(Ward Bullard)则说,意外地未能被充分挖掘的一个人际互动领域,是让粉丝在体育活动期间更接近运动员。布拉德是谷歌旗下社交网站Google+的前体育负责人、目前在SAP技术公司工作。这包括了给粉丝发出特殊邀请,让他们参与球员的赛前热身或赛后新闻发布会,或者在演奏国歌的环节里让粉丝站在运动员旁边。

冈伯特表示,加强此类业务之所以可行,是因为收集粉丝的个人信息将有助于“将粉丝与对他们各自最重要的体验联系起来”。

三、解码更深度的粉丝参与

体育媒体ESPN执行副总裁约翰·科斯纳(John Kosner)说,在向移动设备的持续迁移当中,粉丝们想要随时随地与体育连接。上个月,ESPN.com有43%的受众只通过移动设备访问该网站。

一个关键点在于视频,布拉德补充道,他指出,MLB(美国职业棒球大联盟)和NBA明智地很早就和YouTube合作,通过后者提供精华汇编和近期赛事剪辑,让粉丝按需点播。

国王队的拉纳戴维表示,他认为这个组织“远远大于一支球队,它是一个社交网络”。球队开发了多种方式,与在家中观看赛事的粉丝联系,让他们在自己的第二块屏幕上参与。方法包括在比赛中使用Google+的聊天工具Hangouts,以及“虚拟T恤抽奖”,后者是通过球队的移动应用来随机选出注册的粉丝来赢取T恤。

对于所有体育联盟而言,与社交媒体的连接显然都很关键:NASCAR (全国运动汽车竞赛协会)正研发一种“数码座舱”,它带有车载遥测技术和比赛中的社交媒体功能,能让驾驶员和粉丝进行互动。

社交媒体让运动员和粉丝得以直接交流。布拉德表示,一些运动员每周都用Google+的Hangouts,提供自己的第一人称视角,而在NFL(国家橄榄球联盟)选秀前,另一些运动员也用视频和社交媒体来记录从选拔营一直到选秀的经历。更轻松的例子是,NBA球员们制作了音乐模仿秀视频,受到YouTube上年轻人的追捧。

粉丝的大量参与是否会让运动员分心,是会损害他的表现还是提高他的个人价值?现在想判明这一点为时尚早。但布拉德问道:“如果你有两名才能非常接近的运动员,你会不会选择其中有更多社交网络追随者的那个人?”他的暗示是,一些管理层成员已经开始表明态度,答案将是“yes”。

四、将技术用于赞助和整合

体育赞助已经不再限于简单地将企业名字附在体育场名称上。它已经变为球队、赞助商和狂热的粉丝之间的“三角”关系。

按摩根大通负责体育及娱乐营销负责人史蒂夫·佩蒙(Steve Pamon)给出的说法,这是“通过社交货币而非硬通货,用两件等价的商品创造出其间的某种归属感”。由于某个品牌和球队之间的关联,粉丝们会倾向于在社交媒体上非常积极地喜欢或追随这个品牌,在社交媒体上连接某赞助商的粉丝中,有30%会因为该品牌与自己的球队有关联而实施购买行为。但是如果这种关联感觉并不真实,或推广得过于强烈,消费者也很容易失去兴趣。

麦克·戈鲁布(Mike Golub)是美国职业足球大联盟(MLS)俱乐部波特兰伐木工队(Portland Timbers)的商业运营总裁,他表示,各球队现在有专人整合营销数据,但直觉在商议出售赞助中仍在发挥作用。他的团队近期与当地巧克力公司签署了协议,这并不是因为数据显示巧克力爱好者是最狂热的足球迷,而是因为他们觉得,帮助本地品牌也会反过来对自己有所帮助。

五、本土球队全球化

在如此多的粉丝通过移动技术和社交媒体参与进来后,体育联盟和球队正加速全球性的项目,包括向新市场扩张。作为其中的一个例子,国王队的持有者、印度裔美国人拉纳戴维,讨论了如何提升国王队在印度的形象,包括设立一个印地语球队主页,在比赛期间主办国际性的Google+ Hangouts交流,以及安排一些球员做印度之行:“这不会一蹴而就,但正在慢慢进展。”

他指出,篮球已经成为印度增速最快的体育运动,而粉丝对国王队的兴趣比NBA其他球队高七倍: “未来五年里如果NBA有个印度裔的球员,我将不会感到意外。”本土球员无疑将更加提升印度粉丝的热情,正如过去20年间来自法国、中国和其他国家的球员为NBA做出的贡献一样。

英语原文:(本文由财新网翻译)

Five Key Trends That Are Driving the Business of Sports
Some of the sports world’s top business leaders shared their insights at Stanford GSB’s inaugural Sports Innovation Conference. Here’s what they had to say.
“What’s the difference between a customer and a fan?” asked Vivek Ranadivé, leader of the ownership group of the NBA’s Sacramento Kings, during the keynote kickoff to Stanford GSB’s inaugural Sports Innovation Conference, held in early April. “Fans will paint their face purple, fans will evangelize. … Every other CEO in every business is dying to be in our position — they’re dying to have fans.”

While fan passion is as old as sport itself, leagues and franchises are now using cutting-edge technology not just to build winning teams but also to capitalize on the ardor of their customer base to grow another revenue source — corporate sponsorships. Here are a few of the business trends that emerged from the April conference.

Big data is changing basketball management — and the game itself

More than a decade ago, the Oakland A’s Major League Baseball team (and the book and movie Moneyball) popularized the notion of using statistics with predictive modeling to build a winning team. Teams in the NBA, such as the San Antonio Spurs, have similarly used big data sets to help owners and coaches recruit players and execute game plans. But the 2013-2014 NBA season is the first for all teams to have SportVU tracking, a system of six cameras in each arena that measures the movements of the ball and every player on the court, generating an entire database of performance information. “This is the first year we have more data than we can analyze,” said Ranadivé, noting that more data had been generated this season than in the league’s previous 67-year history.

The data are changing the way the game is played, shifting emphasis from how many total points a player scores to measures of player efficiency, productivity per touch, and defensive effectiveness. “It has been hard, historically, to quantify defense,” said Brian Kopp, senior vice president of STATS, the company that developed SportVU player tracking. “Now we have four camera views helping you do that.” In addition, the data have influenced the types of shots players take on the court.

Golden State Warriors forward Andre Iguodala said he uses the data to assess opponents via scouting reports, but most players don’t pay much attention to it. “Some players aren’t as productive if they’re thinking too much,” he said. Instead, the data’s greatest impact is in helping management build a team of effective and compatible players.

Analytics alone won’t win you a title, said Philadelphia 76ers general manager and president of basketball operations Sam Hinkie, an early advocate of basketball big data when he was with the Houston Rockets. “Fundamentally, success is still about the judgment of the people you put in place,” he said, and analytics is a tool to help those decision makers. With every team having the same deep information, he said, the way to gain competitive advantage in the future will be finding an analytics technique or technology from another industry that can be applied to basketball in an innovative way. “The interesting things are happening here, on Sand Hill Road [the location of Silicon Valley venture capitalists] or with DARPA [Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency] funding, or health care analytics. What’s key is to beg, borrow, and steal from other contexts.”

Data analysis is also likely to contribute to better biomechanics in sports as wearable devices determine how much physical stress players have endured and may even eventually predict the likelihood of injury so a player can be rested before he’s hurt, said Kopp. “Right now, coaches and trainers are guessing a lot.”

The rise of “smart arenas”

Franchises are looking for ways to capitalize on mobile technology to enhance the fan experience in their homes and as spectators in stadiums and arenas. Mobile devices are popular as “second screens” in home viewing of televised sports, but 70% of fans bring a mobile device to the stadium or arena and expect to use it during a game there as well, said Mark Craig of Cisco Systems Sports & Entertainment Group, who has been involved with creating arena Wi-Fi systems that will function with a dense population of users. The new Sacramento Kings arena, set to open in 2016, will have mobile applications for check-in, ushering you to your seat, indicating shortest bathroom and concession lines, seat upgrade options (much like what has been done in the airline industry), cashless commerce, and in-seat wireless charging. The Kings are exploring the use of drone technology to survey available parking spaces and even provide unique in-arena camera angles, said team senior vice president of marketing and strategy Ben Gumpert.

“Sports is a people business, so we’re looking for ways to use technology to further engage with people,” said John Abbamondi, vice president of the NBA’s Team Marketing & Business Operations division. This could mean one day scanning a ticket on your phone to enter the arena, which sends an alert to a service representative to let them know it’s your birthday, so your favorite cocktail can be delivered to your seat. “Each arena is like a lab,” he said, trying out new programs to find what’s successful in deepening engagement and building new revenue.

One surprisingly underexplored avenue for engagement is enhanced fan access to athletes during events, said Ward Bullard, formerly head of sports for Google+ and now with SAP Technology. These may include special fan invitations to pre-game warm-ups or post-game press conferences, or standing next to a player during the national anthem.

Such enhancements are possible because the collection of personal data about fans would help teams “match the experience that matters most with the right fans,” Gumpert said.

Cracking the code of even deeper fan engagement

Fans want to be connected to sports teams and content anytime, anywhere in a continued migration to mobile, said ESPN executive vice president John Kosner, noting that 43% of ESPN.com’s audience came to them exclusively through mobile devices the previous month.

One critical point of access is video, added Bullard, noting that savvy leagues such as MLB and the NBA created early partnerships with YouTube to host highlight compilations and recaps of recent games to let fans watch on demand.

Ranadivé of the Kings said he approaches the organization as, “much bigger than a sports team; it’s a social network.” This includes the team’s development of ways to connect with fans watching at home and engaging on their second screens, such as Google+ Hangouts during games, and a “virtual T-shirt toss,” in which registered fans are selected randomly to win a T-shirt through the team’s app.

Clearly the social media connection is vital across all leagues: NASCAR is developing a “digital cockpit” that includes onboard telemetry and in-race social media interaction between fans and drivers.

Social media has enabled direct connections between fans and the athletes. Some players do weekly Google+ Hangouts, giving their own first person perspective, said Bullard, while others use video and social media to document their experience from the NFL pre-draft scouting tryouts through the draft, for example. On the lighter side, NBA players have done music parody videos that are a hit with younger fans on YouTube.

It’s too soon to tell, though, whether so much engagement will distract athletes, and hurt their performance or increase their value. “If you have two athletes really close in talent, would you choose the one who has a bigger social following?” Bullard asked, suggesting that some in management are starting to indicate the answer will be “yes.”

Using tech for sponsorship and integration

Sport sponsorship no longer means simply attaching a corporate name to a stadium. Rather, it has become a triangle of association between the team, the sponsor, and the passionate fan.

It involves “taking two equivalent products and creating some affinity between them through social currency, not hard currency,” said Steve Pamon, head of sports and entertainment marketing for JP Morgan Chase. Fans tend to be quite active in liking or following a brand on social media because of its association with a team, and 30% of fans who use social media to connect with a sponsor later make a purchase because of the brand’s association with the team. However, if the association doesn’t feel authentic or comes on too strong, it can just as easily be a turnoff to fans.

Teams now have professionals on staff to assemble marketing data, but intuition still plays a part in selling sponsorships, said Mike Golub, president of business operations for the MLS Portland Timbers. His team recently signed a deal with a local chocolate company not because data showed chocolate lovers to be the most passionate soccer fans, but because they felt helping the local brand would also help theirs.

Globalization of the hometown team

With so much fan access occurring via mobile technology and social media, leagues and teams are accelerating global programs, including expanding to new markets. As just one example, Kings owner Ranadivé, who is Indian American, discussed raising the Kings’ profile in India by creating a team website in Hindi, hosting international Google+ Hangouts during games, and sending some team personnel on outreach trips to India. “It’s not an overnight process, but progress is steady,” he said, noting that basketball has become the fastest-growing sport in India, and fan interest in the Kings is seven times higher than that of any other NBA team. “I wouldn’t be surprised if, in the next five years, we have a player of Indian origin in the NBA,” he said. A home-country player would of course increase Indian fan interest even more, just as it has done for the NBA with players from France, China, and other countries over the past two decades.

Stanford graduates cited in this story are: John Abbamondi, MBA ’04; Ward Bullard, BA ’00; Mike Golub, MBA ’88; Ben Gumpert, MBA ’07; Sam Hinkie, MBA ’05; and Steve Pamon, MBA ’96.


Loren Mooney, with additional reporting by Natalie White

Datacn.net-大数据应用从业者与爱好者组织,聚焦大数据业务价值实现。

You may also like...