SAP and sports: The latest developments (including the new football scouting app)
Recently, there have been more announcements concerning SAP and sports. I wanted to provide a quick run-down of the news.
Note: I’m publishing this in the HANA section of SCN, because most of the sports-related solutions are based on the analytic features provided by this InMemory technology.
Framework for mobile sports apps
In a recent SCN blog about SAP activities in the mobile space, Sarah McMullin describes a “cool mobile sports app framework” that is 1) customizable, 2) developed via Design Thinking, 3) “plugs into an incredibly powerful SAP/Sybase 365 mobile commerce platform that enables financial and loyalty transactions”.
I’ve suggested in various blogs that a framework would be ideal to quickly create sports apps for various markets. I’m pleased to see that SAP is moving in this direction. I’m also excited to see that Labs outside of Palo Alto (Sarah is from SAP Waterloo Labs in Canada) are getting involved in these activities.
MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference
The increasingly popular SSAC conference – which looks at sports analytics – took place this week. SAP was present at the event – sponsoring a session “SAP, the 49ers and the NBA: New Technology to Drive Fan Engagement and Team Performance” as well as the research papers.
If you look at the other sponsors of the conference, you’ll also find SAP’s competitors in this field including LiveAnalytics from Ticketmaster (you may want to revisit my analysis of SAP’s acquisition of Ticket-Web to get details on the role that ticketing solutions play in SAP’s sports-related activities).
New football scouting solution
SAP just released (it looks like it is already GA) a new scouting solution for football teams:
The application, which becomes generally available today, is aimed at giving scouts, executives, coaches and trainers the ability to assess, add to and collaborate over player-specific stats. The goal is to use the information to make better-informed decisions in the annual NFL draft, though SAP contends teams could continue to use and build on the data long after that for trades and other evaluations.
SAP Scouting pulls in a core set of data from a database maintained by National Football Scouting, based in Tulsa, Okla. Data can also be added from all-star games and the NFL Combine, a week-long showcase in Indianapolis in which players are evaluated by NFL managers, coaches and scouts on a range of physical and mental tests.
What is interesting is that the target audience for the solution are football franchises but the application was developed in partnership with the 49ers. This is a different model than I’ve seen in the past in that SAP is working with a particular team to sell to other teams. The financial details regarding revenue splitting aren’t mentioned anywhere – it would be interesting to see how the 49ers are being compensated for their participation in the development of this solution.
This solution demonstrates that SAP’s sports-related HANA-based offerings are not only focused on sports fans but on teams as well. I’m sure that fans would also love to get their hands on such scouting-related analysis – so we might see a watered down version for fans in the future.
Deal with German ice hockey league
A deal with the German Ice Hockey League will result in a new application for fans:
Using powerful analytics tools from SAP, fans will be able to interactively track hockey statistics, such as opponent, penalty or player scoring analysis in real time. Access to these tools will begin with the 2013/2014 season. SAP will be featured as favored technology partner on the DEL.org website, bringing thousands of hockey fans in contact with SAP technology for the first time.
This will probably similar to the solution created for the NBA.
Although SAP has worked with the German ice hockey team Mannheim Adler in the past, this is the first agreement at hockey league level that I’ve seen. I’m sure that the hockey-related metrics in the solution aren’t regional in character, so a shift to the NHL might be possible.
Vice president of sports product management at SAP Labs
In an article about the new SAP football scouting application, there is a quote from “Rishi Dwan” with the title “Vice President of Sports Product Management at SAP Labs”. I hadn’t seen Rishi’s name before so I did a quick search – it looks like he has held this position since 2010.
If you look at the announcement concerning SAP’s sponsored presentation at the SSAC, his name appears there as well.
What is also interesting is that Rishi is/was also product manager for RecallsPlus – another mobile app from SAP that is focused more on consumers rather than the enterprise market. It looks like Kijoon Lee (VP of Innovation Marketing) is also involved in both efforts. The cross-pollination between these different HANA-based efforts is good to see – it assures that experience gained on earlier projects is reused.