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How Big Data Makes Being An NBA Fan Better Than Ever?

The National Basketball Association of United States or NBA has been the reason for entertainment of millions of fans for the past many years. In the playoff’s every year, millions of fans across the globe follow the leagues and stay engrossed in the updates. What these fans don't realize is that managing an event at such a large scale requires efforts and coordination of mountainous proportions. The numbers of players NBA manages and the volume of game information that is processed and delivered is humongous and can’t be imagined by a layman fan. In the last few years, NBA has taken the course of modernized technological world and has taken the help of Big Data analytics for processing their huge amount of data and delivering it straight to their beloved fans.


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NBA officials claim that there has been a sudden surge and acceleration in the data consumed and delivered by the leagues and it gets difficult to manage all that data on their NBA.com/stats which provides the fans with play-by-play statistics. NBA now makes use of SAP Hana database back end integrating it with Big Data to provide its fans with the best experience of games’ data and information update. NBA refers its data entry points as 'sport view' data points which are the live video cameras deployed to record the matches in real time. Thirteen such cameras are involved which keep in view all the 13 people on the basketball court simultaneously at all the times and transfer the data generated to the SAP HANA server databases.

The NBA Big Data system works by tagging each entity on the court and deriving data from the motion of each of these in real time and analyzing it. The data is then fed into a fine tuned algorithm which helps in analyzing and processing what really happens in a basketball playoffs. To implement this, NBA works in collaboration with Chicago-based Stats to use their SportVu video analysis software for recording and analyzing every single movement of the players, the ball and the referees as well to gain the perfectly analyzed data for the benefit of the fans while giving them a blow by blow analysis. NBA today claims an extremely large digital media management system that has the ability to look at a large volume of files and extract up to 30 seconds of the required video data as needed.

In September 2016, NBA held its very own hackathon inside the terminal 23 at Manhattan where more than 200 participants comprising of undergraduates, graduates and post graduate statistics students and developers from universities across USA and PhD set up shop to analyze the sports data with fully charged laptops and several cups of coffee. Sports analytics is being termed as a fascinating space which is relatively new but rising like a monster from the sea. Many today see sports analytics as a viable career path having immense future prospects as many NBA teams are also hiring statistical and Big Data Analysts for improving their game plan and models. The domain becomes even more specialized because the end format or output has to be in an easily digestible form because the audience is layman fans. So, no matter how advanced your statistical techniques are, the end result must be inherently simple and easy to understand.

NBA claims to handle approximately 160gb of video data for every video angle of each frame and further has 12 video angles per game. Add to that almost 5 to 15 NBA games going on at the same time and the data amount becomes huge in its true sense. The die-hard fans of NBA need and deserve information about all of these games in real time and hence NBA has moved into the domain of Big Data Analytics. It can be safely said now that technology no longer remains a serious business of technocrats and technical professionals but is slowly spreading its limbs in every nook and corner of the world and will be implemented everywhere and anywhere. Big Data is one such technology that possesses potential and possibility of being implemented in so many domains that the list is never ending.




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