Big Data's Role in International Sports
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Nothing brings the world together quite like the FIFA World Cup and the summer and winter olympics. With an immense sense of pride and a love for sport, enthusiasts from hundreds of countries around the globe gather to watch — at home or at the event — some of the world’s best athletes compete on the biggest stage from three weeks to one month.
Since they’re only held every four years, these events command additional levels of anticipation and excitement. A failure means four years of turmoil waiting for the next event to come around. The host cities/country have the tremendous responsibility of putting on a show for the entire world. There’s no room for error or going on the cheap. It seems that the hosts are continually trying to outdo the previous event. This has led to billions and billions of dollars being spent on the events.
Unfortunately, even with the huge amount of money that’s spent on these events, the same problems seem to creep up time and time again — transportation, hospitality, security and stadium access/seating. These areas are extremely difficult to predict which means, understandably so, that the hosts continue to have difficulties dealing with them.
Big data platforms like Amazon Elastic Mapreduce can change all that. By gathering extremely large amounts of data from from hundreds and thousands of events and then analyzing that data, hosts can completely change the large sporting event experience. And it’s not just past data that can be used. Hosts can use apps and monitor social media in real-time to make minute-by-minute changes as they arise.
Here are some of the ways that transportation, hospitality, security and stadium access/seating will be improved by implementing big data .
Transportation is perhaps the single most difficult aspect of any large sporting event. If you get it right then you’ve got a great chance of success. Get it wrong, however, and it’s going to be a long tournament. With the combination of airplanes, buses, trains and automobiles, it’s difficult to stay on top of transportation. In the past it’s been impossible to streamline all the different methods and ensure quick, punctual travel to the games/events. The benefits of big data analytics changes all that. By using the technology to monitor traffic, game times, passenger number, weather and a host of other factors, transportation can become streamlined and efficient. No more travel headaches for participants or fans.
Hospitality is almost as troublesome as transportation. How do you effectively handle millions of additional fans and visitors for just a few weeks? How do you ensure sufficient rooms, space, and other amenities expected by visitors? Like transportation, big data technology can take this extremely complicated task and streamline and simplify it. Big data takes huge amounts of information, unable to be gathered in other ways, and makes sense of that data to give organizers a clear picture of what it’s going to take to succeed with hospitality.
The security of any event, especially the World Cup or Olympics, is without a doubt the most important aspect. No matter how successful the event itself turns out to be, one security breach will forever cast a shadow over it. That’s why it’ so important that the organizers get it right. So while the expertise of the police and military personnel is no doubt essential to an effective security crew, the information and insights provided by big data are equally as important. Together big data and the police can form a barrier of protection that’s extremely difficult to penetrate. Again, big data not only helps in analyzing the past data, but also by providing real-time updates and insights.
When people finally make it to the event they don’t want to go through the hassle of waiting in huge lines to get in, go through security checks, and wait for the ushers to find their seats. They want to get to the stadium and get to their seat quickly. Additionally there needs to be sufficient concessions at prices people will pay. There too needs to be sufficient bathrooms and drinking fountains for the guests. Big data helps in the streamlining of all these services. It affects how the stadiums are constructed and then from there how organizers can make the entrance to seating process a breeze.
Sports have always been keen to implement data into their systems. Whether it’s evaluating a player or deciding where to establish a franchise. Now, with big data, sporting events at the highest level can significantly reduce the constant headaches of times past and provide fans and players with a truly world-class experience.
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