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How analytics and big data are changing ice-hockey

For years hockey was out of the analytics talks. Fast-paced team sport is brutal to evaluate with numerical and statistical analysis, or at least that was the sentiment around the professional NHL league, the pinnacle of the sport. NBA turned to more three-point shooting and spacing the floor, and baseball to more home run or bust risks at the bat. The last bastion of significant North American sports is slowly accepting the incredible strength of analytics, and now teams and leagues take advantage of its power.

From Pina Colada to the Stanley Cup

A great example of how teams embraced analytics comes from reigning champions Tampa Bay Lightning, who over a decade ago employed a mathematician from Texas, Michael Peterson, who is now the director of analytics. Tampa Bay relied heavily on data and moved away from overwhelming subjective evaluation of players that could sometimes cloud judgement. Professional sports is often a harsh environment where players are both valuable personalities fans relate to and almost a commodity on the road to success.

But, it’s not just clubs and the league that is welcoming big data analytics to the NHL. The Sportsbook community has professional hockey as one of the top sports on offer, and with precise in-depth data, they can determine the lines more accurately. Sports betting has been on a steady, sharp rise since 2018, and it reached new heights in 2020. iGaming companies now diversify their portfolio, expecting players to come for the sportsbook but stay for Canadian slots right after choosing the best lines on the Tampa Bay Lightnings. Of course, it doesn’t come that easy, but analytics and new data surge will surely help get the latest casino players most effectively.

Players and coaches like analytics

The puck is flying over 100 mph, and players fly over ice up to 35 mph meaning manual statistics is a nightmare. However, the Internet of Things and the development of tiny sensors changed everything for sports. So you have sensors in the puck, all over hockey players, and tracking devices help all have a much better performance overview. In addition, the coaching staff can now recognize hidden talents or promote players under the radar.

Data can indicate fatigue, and coaches can make timely substitutions or rest players in some games. Data analysis also helps with training and schematics, leading to better tactics, game plans and team play. In addition, young players can read into data to get a more objective view on which areas in-game they could improve.

Fans get more options

Hockey struggled to get the viewership of some other sports, often because of the fast-paced gameplay many people couldn’t keep up. With sensors in hockey equipment, puck and players are more visible on screen. But analytics goes even further with overlaying an incredible amount of statistical data during the game and goal replays. As a result, viewers can see the players’ speed, skate, and overall impact on the game.

Arenas around the league create mobile apps with more features thanks to analytical data. Besides buying tickets and refreshments, you can monitor the status and performance of the mobile app during the game. Although traditionalists object to sports analytics, the evidence suggests players, teams, leagues, and fans have much better experience thanks to the power of data.

This is a sponsored post. Photo by Boitumelo Phetla on Unsplash.

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