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Investing in sports analytics pays, says expert
 
MARAM HUSSEIN

DOHA AN expert has stressed that it is more beneficial to invest in sports analytics than spending heavily on sports stars.

"Instead of investing 10 million dollars in players, you can invest 100,000 dollars in statisticians and get more benefit for your money. That seems the trend in most of the sports,  Dr John Guttag, professor of computer science and electrical engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) and cohead of the Networks and Mobile Systems Group at MIT's Computer Science and Artificial Intelligence Laboratory (CSAIL), said on Wednesday.

He was presenting the results of his current research centred on the application of advanced computational techniques to sports in order to analyse and predict on the field performance of athletes.

Significant investments into analytics (data, models, information systems, and skilled personnel) culminate in significant results related to match successes and the improvement of viewing techniques, he said.

"Analytical tools help professionals make better decisions, capture the interest of viewers, and also enhance viewing techniques,  Dr.

Guttag said while delivering a public lecture titled "Tracking the Action  hosted by Qatar Computing Research Institute (QCRI).

Dr Guttag's data-driven methods have been applied to basketball and baseball arenas. His visit to Qatar is an attempt to venture into football fields.

Elaborating more on the topic of sports analytics, he said that "through machine learning utilisation, we can recognise effects and defensive patterns and apply them to success and failure.  He also stressed the importance of sports analytics techniques in making the viewing experience interesting, not only for fans in homes, but also for those watching sports matches on TV or their computers.

Dr Guttag further underlined the importance of potential future joint agreements between QCRI and MIT.

"We believe that with the help of collaborators in Qatar, we can apply much of what we have done in other areas of football,  he said.

"There are no centres for sports analytics. It's really a good opportunity to create such a centre. I hope that we can create a joint QCRI and MIT centre for sports analytics,  Dr Gottag said.

"This whole area of data analytics is becoming so important. It is emerging as a big business and has become increasingly data driven,  said Exective Director of QCRI Dr Ahmed K Elmagarmid.


 
 

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