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This is the first in a series of blog posts on companies that innovate with data in the sports and entertainment industry.

There’s no shortage of data in sports and entertainment. We can find easily recorded data points at every game or event both on and off the field. Sometimes we have more data than we can handle using traditional data processing applications or methods, but advancements in technologies such as cloud, mobile, and in-memory make it easier and cost-effective to capture, store and consume these large data sets.

However, having these data troves or the potential to capture these gold mines alone doesn’t do much good unless we can deliver actionable insight. In some cases, we have to process data faster than usual because the analysis may require real-time measurement. And adding to the mix data size, velocity and structure (or lack of it) makes the equation to deliver insight even more complex, approaching big data territory--if we haven’t crossed into it already.

This new series will cover a diverse set of companies in all facets of the sports and entertainment industry. Their specialization will range from sports performance to fan experience.  By exploring different sources of data, I hope to paint a broad picture of what I call the data spectrum, highlighting how these companies uncover the hidden value in data mines.

Since my first series, Sports and Analytics, appeared last year, I have met many companies in the industry that manage and work with data. Some are small or still a young start-up; others are large organizations with a global presence and/or a long history. But despite their many differences, they all have one thing in common: They are passionate about data and what it can do for their organization, for their customers, and their customers’ customers. That is why I called this new series “Data Innovators in Sports and Entertainment.”

“Innovation” means different things to different people. In its basic form, innovation is how we create new things, whether they are completely new solutions or improvements over existing ones. In this context, innovation is creating new or smart ways of harnessing data to develop solutions that can deliver value for unmet needs.

Therefore, innovation needs to start with always looking for ways to uncover insight that would otherwise be buried in these data troves. In doing so, we unlock the potential to create new opportunities. Some of these solutions present themselves with new offerings to fans or branding opportunities for sponsors, while others surface behind-the-scenes to help coaches, athletes, trainers and managers to improve performance on and off the field.

The bottom line is that data is worthless if we don’t exploit its potential and connect it with other data sets for cross fertilization. Innovation requires that we seek to create new value in new or existing solutions where technology can play a major role. Passion for and ingenuity with data is what makes it all happen. And sports and entertainment is filled with many examples of data innovators.

Stay tuned for the next installment of the Data Innovators in Sports and Entertainment series.

Connect with me on Twitter (@KaanTurnali), LinkedIn and

Data Innovators in Sports and Entertainment Series:

Overview | SyncStrength | TSG 1899 Hoffenheim | Postano | Sqor, Inc. | Fan Appz | Phizzle | Uplause