Sports Analytics Convention

Emily Kiemele

In the modern world, nearly every field uses computers to function in some degree. The way to learn about a business is their website, professionals communicate through email, and most of a company’s information is stored digitally. Consumers use technology to learn about businesses and businesses use
technology to learn more about their consumers.

Staff and faculty from the College of St. Scholastica attended a Sports Analytics Convention in Eden Prairie on Jan. 26. Here, representatives from sports teams and businesses alike informed the crowd about how data is collected and analyzed in sports.

Computer information systems professor Kris Glesener and CIS major Will Peterson shared their experiences of the conference.

Glesener reported even though the sports convention highlighted sports analytics, in many fields there are now positions that “analyze and draw conclusions from data,” so the general information from the convention could be applied to any field.

Glesener and Peterson both agreed there were people of many different fields of study in attendance including math, computer science, business, bioinformatics, and economics. There were representatives from many sports teams including the Twins, Gophers, Wild, FC United, and the Vikings. The convention was free to attend, and Glesener says the spots offered by the college “filled up quickly”.

One of Glesener’s favorite parts of the convention was a session on technology used by a company who was working for Super Bowl LII. The company had set up video cameras equipped with facial recognition software to track who was coming into the stadium. Glesener reports Verizon had also installed wireless routers for every ten seats. This made for great wifi, and gave workers the ability to monitor what the crowd was doing on their phones throughout the game.

Glesener repeated the potential example of people texting about rushing the field. If workers saw these texts or messages they would be able to look into the communication and see it if was merely light-hearted suggestion, or if a real safety issue was unfolding. With this technology, security guards would be able to take action if necessary.

A highlight of the event for Peterson was learning of opportunities for things he was interested in; he discovered many “different places to apply [his] data analytics knowledge.”

A particular topic he was interested in was using data analytics to monitor the activity of ticket selling sites like StubHub and Ticketmaster. Peterson says sports associations would use this technology to regulate sales of sites not affiliated with the league.

Overall, Glesener and Peterson both enjoyed the convention. Glesener also noted the possibility of adding a data analytics minor here at St. Scholastica. The professor says it is still in its early stages, but the college already has a lot of classes that would pertain to it.