How predictive analytics is changing sports

Increasingly, sports managers and franchises are turning to analytics to determine the players they recruit and pay premium salaries. The question is no longer what have you done for me lately? But rather: How well will you do tomorrow? and How can we be sure?

This emphasis in paying for future potential over past performance which is now transforming sports, also holds huge implications for how managers will “incent and inspire” high achievers in their organizations, according to according to Michael Schrage, research fellow at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT).

In a recent blog, he also observed that this “moneyball ethos” and the economic value of forecasting methodologies are also redefining the values of loyalty and leadership.

He cites a recent conversation with Daryl Morey, general manager of the National Basketball Association’s Houston Rockets who is considered a pioneer in using statistical, quantitative analytics to pro basketball.

Morey said his job in to increase the team’s chances of winning games and championships and “those things happen going forwards and not looking backwards.”

The trend is towards paying for future performance meaning “forecasted performance,” said Morey.

Algorithmic and biomedical advances are now providing sports coaches, managers and team owners the tools to predict which players have picked and which ones have their full potential ahead of them, said Morey.

Enterprise organizations, Morey feels, do not have this luxury. He said business does not yet have the same tools to determine if “after 50, this guy won’t have another good marketing idea again.”

For instance, he said, it is very difficult to determine how personal loyalty plays in inspiring better efforts to achieve better result or the positive effects of the character of an aging leader who is able to inspire workers to “step up their game.”

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Nestor E. Arellano
Nestor E. Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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