How the NBA Uses Big Data for a Better Fan Experience
At the Interop conference, the NBA's CIO provides details on the IT behind North America's professional basketball league.LAS VEGAS—With the National Basketball Association playoffs in full swing, fans can't seem to get enough of the league's players and action. And so behind the scenes, the NBA is managing a mountain of player and game information for its millions of fans. In a keynote address on April 27 at the InformationWeek Conference, co-located with the Interop conference here, Michael Gliedman, CIO of the NBA, detailed the technology behind the immersive analytics and video replay technology used by the basketball league. Over the years, there have been many changes in the NBA, among them—in the past decade in particular—an acceleration in the data consumed and delivered by the league, according to Gliedman (pictured), who has been CIO of the NBA for 16 years. One result of all that data is the NBA.com/stats site, which provides detailed play-by-play statistics, he said. "Where it all starts is at the court side, where we have three data input laptops and we have stats input people looking at a drawing of the court, and he or she will enter the player name, play type and point on the court," Gliedman said. "We do that throughout a game, and all that data comes back live into a database." The NBA makes use of an SAP HANA database back end, Gliedman said, and all of the data entry points are enhanced with what he refers to as "sport view" data, which is video from live cameras. Those live cameras capture all 13 people who are on an NBA basketball court at the same time.
"There are six cameras in every arena, capturing players, the ball and the officials all running up and down the court," Gliedman said.