The Big Game in the Age of Big Data

The Big Game in the Age of Big DataWho doesn’t love the Super Bowl? Even if football isn’t your thing, millions of people tune-in to watch the commercials in between plays. While the Super Bowl will always remain a highly watched program featuring athletes and advertising, Big Data is refining the experiences surrounding the event. From making bets to making multimedia campaigns, each Super Bowl sees more use of Big Data than the last.

Let’s start with the bets. Both Nate Silver, the statistician who accurately predicted 50 out of 50 state results in the last election, thought the 49ers had a significantly greater chance of winning. PredictionMachine.com used Big Data to run 50,000 simulations of the game, leading to the prediction that the 49ers would win. Obviously, these predictions proved untrue (Go Ravens!), but isn’t it astounding that a computer could run over 50,000 simulations that had to take all the players statistics, moves, and tactics into consideration?

For marketers, it’s not just about who wins. It’s about gaining brand equity and influence across devices, before, during, and after the game. Consider Oreo, which managed to launch a witty ad on Twitter during the unexpected blackout in the third quarter. The message caught on almost immediately, getting about 15,000 retweets and more than 20,000 likes on Facebook overnight.
And both Coca-Cola and Doritos used the commercials as an opportunity to expand from interactive online campaigns..

Even the football players themselves are benefitting from Big Data. There’s software that can analyze the satisfaction of player’s fan base. Moreover, players are being rewarded for their ability to engage fans on and off the field. Social media, news sites, and automated software agents make it easier than ever to scour the Internet for the latest story about a player and evaluate the player’s current reputation.

Big data has turned the Super Bowl, America’s annual sports fiesta, into a personalized prospect. Or at the very least, that’s definitely the direction we’re headed in. Excited for next year’s Super Bowl already?

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