SBD/February 15, 2013/Media

What's Your Number? NBA, SAP Debut New Statistical Engine Online

Boxscores from every game in league history is one of the new features
The NBA and official business analytics software partner SAP Friday are debuting NBA.com/Stats, the new statistical engine months in the making. Available before to team personnel and credentialed NBA media, the advanced statistical database will now be free and available to the public. The site features boxscores for every game in league history and allows for advanced statistical analysis with a capability of more than 4.5 quadrillion computations. The site will be updated after each game, eventually will include links to video and feature a wide variety of links to social media platforms for fans to share data. "We think this will be a real breakthrough for fans," said NBA Exec VP/Operations & Technology Steve Hellmuth. "We're putting tools in the hands of our fans to do the same kind of detailed analysis of players and teams happening inside the game." The portal will be supported by advertising, like most other parts of NBA.com, and also is designed as an indirect driver toward consumption of other league content such as televised games. NBA.com/Stats originally was targeted to launch around the start of the season, but the league and SAP in recent weeks have conducted rigorous stress testing on the product to ensure it could scale reliably to a mass audience. "Scaling was a huge issue, but this has been a great project, something we see as really additive to the fan experience," said SAP Senior VP/Sports & Entertainment Steve Peck. "We're hoping this is the beginning of something that also can get into ticketing analytics, merchandising and other business-side elements" (Eric Fisher, Staff Writer).

DEVIL IN THE DETAILS: In N.Y., Howard Beck reports the system “graphically displays every player’s shooting tendencies,” and allows fans to “analyze and compare lineup combinations.” The NBA’s site for the first time “includes advanced metrics -- like true shooting percentage, usage rate and defensive efficiency -- that have been available on other sites for years.” A version of the statistics tool “was created six years ago, for exclusive use by NBA teams.” The league last February “opened it up to reporters and bloggers who cover the league, as a sort of beta test,” and now fans “will have access.” NBA Deputy Commissioner & COO Adam Silver, who will succeed Commissioner David Stern next February, was a “major driving force behind the project.” Hellmuth: “Adam wanted to surface all of this information so fans could digest it the way they wanted to, so they could have their own view of the history of the NBA and their own look into their favorite team. We didn’t want to keep it behind a curtain; we wanted to expose it” (N.Y. TIMES, 2/15).
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