How COVID Boosted Interest in Sports Statistics

The pandemic left a lot of people with a lot of time on their hands. During lockdowns, people couldn’t go out. Many people lost their jobs. Most of those who didn’t, have been working from home at least part of the time, which has meant they haven’t had to waste time commuting. As a result of all of this extra free time, many people have picked up new hobbies or delved deeper into old ones.

One hobby that has seen a big uptick in interest during the pandemic is monitoring and analyzing sports statistics.

The Perfect Time for a Rise in Interest

Interest in sports statistics had already been steadily rising over the last couple of decades. When the pandemic hit, it gave many who had begun to show interest in the subject an opportunity to delve deeper into the numbers.

Some devoted their time to sports statistics simply as a distraction and a way to stay sane during a lockdown. Others turned to sports statistics as a possible new career path. Many who had lost their jobs due to the pandemic saw the booming industry of sports analytics as a possible light at the end of the tunnel.

Needing a Fix

There was a period during the beginning of the pandemic with no sports at all. After that, stadiums were either empty or limited in capacity. People have historically looked to sports as an escape. Sports are most needed when times are tough. With a stretch of no sports being played, shortened seasons, and the inability to attend live events, people needed to find another way to get their sports fix.

One of the ways that people filled that gap was through sports entertainment programs. The biggest of these being Netflix’s Michael Jordan/Chicago Bulls docuseries, The Last Dance. There were many other fascinating pieces of sports entertainment beyond The Last Dance, like the surprisingly popular SBNation series The History of the Seattle Mariners.

These series at once helped fans to feel the miracles that sports make seem possible while inspiring many to delve deeper into the numbers behind the stories.

When sports did resume, many found they had more time to devote to fantasy sports than ever before. They began looking to sites with live scouting football data to get an edge in their fantasy league. The statistical data available for analysis within the sports industry is not only beneficial to owners of real teams but owners of fantasy teams as well.

Sports Analytics Are a Literal Game Changer

Sports analytics took a while to take hold but has become an essential part of sport now. Any team not fully implementing the use of the available data is at a loss. Big businesses have been using analytics for decades to improve performance. Now sports are trying to do the same. However, compared to these large companies, a sports team is a relatively small business.

As a result, even those teams that have gone all-in on analytics don’t have nearly as large an analytics department as a big bank. They can only process so much information in-house. This has led to a rise in companies that create personalized reports for teams, providing them with the information they need to best take advantage of the previously unused available data.

As organizations continue to invest more in analytics, these companies continue to grow. This growth has provided an opportunity for mathematically-minded individuals with a love for sports to have a career doing something they love.

The layoffs that occurred during the pandemic left many of these individuals who had been doing a job they didn’t much care for before a chance to study this growing field. People saw a way to turn around a bad situation and view it as an opportunity to change their life for the better.

For some people, the opportunity presented by the convergence of a global pandemic and a boom in the sports analytics industry meant that their cloud had a silver lining.

All opinions expressed on USDR are those of the author and not necessarily those of US Daily Review.