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Data management and analytics in the modern NBA

By Max Burkhalter
October 19, 2022

Analytics in the NBA has changed the game. More teams are embracing what data analytics can do both on the court and in the stands.

Take 601 Analytics, for example. As a company that grew out of the Miami Heat's business operations department, 601 Analytics has built a ticketing and data platform that has taken the league by storm. 601 not only works with several teams in the NBA but has recently expanded its sports catalog to the NHL Detroit Red Wings and the MLB with the Detroit Tigers.

601 processes attendee numbers for the FTX Arena in Miami and other contracted venues for games, concerts and other events in real time. This data grants them the insight to outline venue sales goals from season tickets, foster corporate partnerships and develop full attendee profiles. These fan profiles scale down to the most minute details, including the food they purchase and what team or event merchandise they've been buying. From there, a more individualized strategy per venue to enhance attendee experience is then built — and likewise helps staff keep things safe and fun.

"We're addressing certain key concerns around the industry, especially around the protection and ownership of data," says Edson Crevecouer, 601's COO per Forbes. "We preceded the demand from the industry. [But] I think we're also prepared for the near future."

But data is also being integrated heavily into the on-court product. Inspired by the Moneyball movement in Major League Baseball, analytics in the NBA has led to advanced metric tracking of stats of players and teams to analyze trends. One of the biggest results of analytics in professional basketball is the surge in 3-point shooting. Per Basketball-Reference, the average 3-point attempts per game have nearly doubled in the last 10 seasons. 

While heavy data analytics approaches have some notable critics, including Hall-of-Famers LeBron James and Charles Barkley, there is something to be said for analyzing trends and developing strategies to optimize play.

Take 3-point shooting as an example, with players like Steph Curry, Damian Lillard and Klay Thompson who attempt little to no midrange jump shots. Teams collectively make value decisions of whether to attempt layups at the rim or to place more shot specialists outside the line for an extra point. Midrange back-to-the-basket connoisseurs like Michael Jordan are less common in the modern game. According to Thinking Basketball, evidence may suggest that the midrange 2-pointer may be the least efficient shot on the court. What happens next for the NBA will be up to how organizations act off of this influx of data.

Data management is half composed of understanding people and of effective IT infrastructure. Perle Systems has worked with several professional sports organizations to improve how they reach their fans through firmware and data strategy. Some of our clients include the New York Mets and the NFL. This has resulted in upgraded venues and fan experience through interactive and connective solutions to the play on the field.

For more information on Perle Systems and data management, reach out for a conversation with a member of our team today!


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