The data industry is booming and almost all industries are continuously hiring data professionals who can generate insights and aid decision-making at all levels of business. The sports world is no different, as teams, leagues, and media organizations seek to optimize their standard operating procedures by analyzing historical data, creating models that can predict future outcomes, and integrating data-backed decision-making.
Having been an active sportsperson throughout my childhood, I was certain from a very early age that I wanted to build a career in the sports industry. Upon completing my graduation in business administration, I began exploring the various career opportunities that existed in the sports world and realized the potential of data analysis and its impact on almost all verticals of any business. A well-rounded data team can provide support to marketing, finance, human resources, operations, business development, and all other departments and verticals within an organization. It was this versatility of the application of analytics that drew me towards exploring the sports analytics industry and understanding the opportunities available in this space.
Sports teams hire analysts who work directly on the sport performance aspects such as opposition analysis, player scouting, injury prevention, and other strategic elements that can be optimized by involving a data-backed approach. Additionally, opportunities exist in ticketing, marketing, partnerships, sponsorships, and other commercial avenues that impact the performance of the sports business.
Eventually, it became clear to me that I could combine my passion for sports, with my understanding of business and acquire data skills that would allow me to build my dream career. I realized that I could be in a position where my work would contribute directly to the success of whichever organization I would work at as these skills would be in demand across the sports industry, where competition is incredibly high and any advantages that can be gained by making more informed decisions would be extremely valuable.
Hence, I decided to pursue a MS Degree in Applied Data Science with a Specialization in Sports Analytics at IUPUI, a unique program not offered by a lot of other universities. This program has allowed me to gain hard skills in database management, data analytics, and data visualization, while also enhancing my understanding of the sports industry and sharpening my soft skills. Indianapolis is a sports city with professional football, basketball, baseball, and soccer teams, a thriving sports culture, and an emphasis on college sports demonstrated by the frequency with which the city hosts national collegiate sporting events.
During the 18 months I have spent completing my college credits, I have had the opportunity to not only attend multiple sporting events as a fan but also volunteer to work at different events in varying capacities, thereby increasing my practical knowledge of what it is like to work in the sports industry. By building a career as a sports analyst, I can continue to experience all the feelings associated with being a professional sportsperson, for a longer duration than the average sportsperson’s career.