For several years, higher education business programs have pushed for students to grasp the importance of quantitative analysis. They point to research showing organizations, across many disciplines, embracing data and using it to make critical business decisions.
The professional sports world is, of course, a business. And in the last 10 years or so, professional teams have continually increased spending to acquire, dissect and make sense of player data. This spending includes hiring analysts, increasing computing power and purchasing high-end computer software. While the data movement first emerged in baseball, where so-called Sabremetrics has become an essential tool for evaluating talent, other professional leagues have also developend a similar appetite for data.
Yet, the need for understanding numbers is not limited to decisions made by the management of sports teams. Gamblers and fantasy sports players also crave numbers. As for the latter, this Fortune story discusses how the National Basketball Association (NBA) has expanded its website with the addition of a new analytics section. While the information provided may attract the attention of some in team management, the key reason for introducing this feature is to appeal to fantasy sports fans and entice them to visit this part of the website more often.
How exactly does this help the NBA? By increasing the visitor traffic to this part of the website, the NBA can expect an increase in online advertising revenue for two reasons: 1) more visitor traffic, and 2) higher rates charged for ads shown in the area.