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On Monday April 11th, several SAP professionals joined me on campus at the University of Notre Dame for meetings related to SAP Sports innovation projects with Notre Dame Athletics.  To take advantage of their visit, we scheduled an evening informal session with students interested in sports technology.  We had a large crowd of students from the sports analytics club and two current classes:  Math in Sports and Sports Analytics.

Math in Sports is described as follows:

• There are many applications of mathematics in sport. In this course, we explore a number of topics. We see how the theory of ranking and game theory can be applied in sport. We look at applications of basic number theory and combinatorics in tournament scheduling. We also see how elementary calculus provides insight into the biomechanics of human movement.

Sports Analytics is described as follows:

• Many industries are being created and transformed by using the techniques of business analytics. With the goal of studying these techniques in some depth, this course focuses on one such industry: sports. This industry has clearly benefited from the application of a wide variety of analytics techniques, and has the advantage of being widely and closely followed, with large amounts of easily-accessible real-world data. Topics for study in this course include how to evaluate players, rate teams, schedule leagues, and enhance coaching strategies. Assignments involve the hands-on use of a variety of techniques and tools, which are useful in most industries. Techniques and tools include data manipulation, probability, statistics, optimization, spreadsheets, and a powerful statistics package. A basic knowledge of Excel, statistics, and sports (in particular, baseball, basketball, and football) is assumed.

Jim Heilman, Senior Director, Media, Sports & Entertainment Industry and Bernhard Escherich, Global Head Service and Project Support, Sports & Entertainment were the primary presenters.  Jim provided an overview of SAP Sports initiatives and solutions while Bernhard focused on SAP Sports One and the competitive advantage it is providing for soccer clubs around the world.  We took questions from students and discussed ways to engage in sports technology through contests or by using our NBA and NHL statistics sites.  Many students are interested in working in this expanding sports technology domain.

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