The Influences of IT in the Sports Industry.

It was late 2011 when Sony Pictures released the movie Moneyball. A movie that followed General Manager Billy Bean (played by Brad Pitt) of the Oakland A’s. The Oakland A’s where an American baseball team hosted in Oakland and competing in the Major League Baseball. Having one of the lowest budgets in the Competition Billy was struggling with putting a team together. In order to form a team he ran into Peter Brand, an IT nerd with a new view on baseball. Peter had an IT solution for Baseball and together they made a cheap team of under appreciated players which could be able to win the competition. Although the movie was based on a true story Billy Bean and the Oakland A’s came close, but did not won the league.

IT in the sports grows immensely. A lot of the Top Elite teams competing in for instance the Olympics or the Champions league make use of IT facilities to influence their Sport. Teams keep big data bases about their opponents or use Video Analyzing Equipment to make state of the art analyzes of their matches. Making use of al these technologies sure improves the sport. But at what level?

Data allows us the improve the overall game. Already there are cases where it reduces arbitrary mistakes. Think about the hawk-eye in tennis or the video-referee in hockey. Using statistics makes the game more understandable for average people. Fans now a day can see all kinds of statistics about their favorite player.  These statistics contribute to the overall experience of the Fans. IT also helps coaches make better and adequately decisions about their team. Adidas, for instance, provides a system with wearable devices that obtain information and show the coach which players are performing and which not. This information can really help a coach in a game.

Where are we heading with all these technologies in the sports? As long as we use technologies to improve the overall performance of the game I think we are heading in the right way. Arbitrary can improve with IT to reduce faults in decisions. By offering spectators more statistics it benefits the overall spectators experience. In the last part it can benefit the sporters and their coaches. By using all these new technologies players can become better, which results in games at faster speed and higher levels.

Big Data now a day is a “hot” topic. The list of positive influences of these data to the sport is long. As a trainer and a Coach I absolutely support these developments. It should benefit the sport and make sports a better game, but there is a point where I think we should not make IT influence the game. I draw the line at the point where we are going to use IT for future decisions of the sporters. Sport is a game of mistakes, and sport needs these mistakes to make it attractive. If we are going to tell players what to do, we might as well going to play sports with perfectly designed robots. For me the beauty of the game lies in that short split-second decision moment where a player shows that he is truly brilliant.

Niels Rudolphus



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2 responses to “The Influences of IT in the Sports Industry.”

  1. 360290vv says :

    I agree with you that IT is getting more important in top level sports. For example: Germany used their very own data application ‘Match Insights’ the last World Cup and it didn’t let them down.

    Besides improved and more sophisticated tactics we saw the goal line referee make its debut in top football. I certainly believe that this way we can ensure that the game runs more fairly. I think the referees should deserve more and more technical support.

    Other topic which could be added to your story is a TV show from the Netherlands called ‘Heilig Gras’ (or Holy Grass) made in 2011 where they visit the writer of Moneyball. They also take a look at data driven decisions at big clubs like Manchester City and Chelsea FC.

    You can watch it here : (Dutch spoken)

    It ends with some statistics about Casillas and the Spanish football players at the 2010 World Cup. If we only made it to penalty’s..


  2. matthewvancooten says :

    I support the developments of data usage in the sports industry, but I agree with you that we should not make IT a leading factor in sports. As long as it makes the game fair by using IT to help referees to make the right decisions, I support it, but in some sports, data usage has completely changed the competition. Cycling is one of the sports where the use of data has changed the game. The cyclists constantly have a connection with the team manager, which makes the race less attractive to watch. Cycling teams are using data to calculate what the riders should eat, when they should eat, how much they should eat, all in order to get the best results. The rides themselves are constantly checking the board computers on their bikes to see what power-to-weight ratio they ride. Everything seems to be programmed, nothing is based on intuition or emotions, the riders are more robot than human! The performance of Chris Froome in this year’s Tour de France was remarkable, since he kept on checking his board computer and cycled in one steady pace up the mountains. To me, this was the first time that I saw the negative side of IT in sports.

    Hamiltion, A. (2015) “The importance of power-to-weight ,and how to improve yours” [online] Available at: [Accessed at: 18-10-2015]

    Randewijk, M. (2015) “Chris Froome, de Tour en het geheim van wattage” [online] Available at: [Accessed at: 18-10-2015]

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