Sports Tech panelists talk about how sports analytics can make athletes better

SAN FRANCISCO, CA--Last November 18, OLC attended the General Assembly Sports & Technology Mixer which consisted a variety of sports enthusiasts ranging from students studying sports management to tech startups focusing on mobile sporting league applications.


The three individuals chosen for the panel offered up a diverse blend of advice and experiences in the sports and tech industry; the panel included Rod Gaerlan from the Intercollegiate Athletics, University of California at Berkeley, Aaron Burby from Misfit Wearables, a hardware company that designs and manufactures wearable products that utilize sensor technology, and Dorian Pieracci from DTP, a strategy consulting company working with sports properties.


To open the workshop, the panelist discussed their previous job experiences and how they came to do the work that they do now.


Burby states, "Misfit products are about helping people become more active; we want to go mainstream and teach people how to go from the sofa to the sidewalk. I got into this business because I firmly believe that everyone has an athlete in them."


In contrast, Gaerlan found his interests while attending UC Berkeley, "The primary goal is to put student-athletes in the best position to succeed, both in academics and in athletics, and a significant part of the equation is hiring and retaining the best coaches and staff possible."


In order to tie in the importance of understanding the relation from athlete, to products, to consumers, Pieracci states, "I wanted to be a sports agent but realized that most athletes don't know what they are doing; once I transitioned into sports management I learned that value ultimately comes from data analytics."


The panelists also shared their thoughts on the importance of data analytics and why they chose the sports industry.


Gaerlan says data analytics allows him to discover what is best needed for his athletes to succeed. “The same concept goes for products with the capacity to buy the products that correlate to the target consumer; I use data to learn about my athletes, what makes them better." Misfit products offer a variety of features from specific battery life to an item made specifically to connect its purchaser to their desired athletic goals.


Burby says patterns emerge in all data analytics and companies are interested in seeing individual activity data. “It allows us a huge opportunity to understand how to leverage it." DTP specializes in leveraging online fan bases as measurable sponsorship assets for sports properties and corporate partners; for Pieracci, data analytics is a must. "It allows us to parse through the different variables and get from tech to purchase essentially; there are different data points for different customers and brands like demographic, personality, and engaging content. It lets us develop implementation and direction."


Though a majority of the workshop consisted of data analytics, the intriguing correlation of how tech affects the sports industry allowed the audience to gain a better understanding of the wide spectrum of characteristics that affect how sports reaches the individual.