Innovation in Sports: The ‘Moneyball’ Advantage
May 16th, 2016 by Sarah Ricard
The 2003 book Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game by Michael Lewis and the 2011 movie adaptation brought attention to the use of technology and science in baseball.
The Major League’s Oakland Athletics had a small budget, giving teams with more money advantages in signing better players. But A’s general manager Billy Beane successfully used innovative technology to find players that other teams overlooked.
At the time, the club’s use of technology in sports was uncommon; however, by 2014, venture funding for sports tech startups reached almost $1 billion, a 30 percent increase from 2012 (Tech Crunch).
In addition to the increase in venture capital investments, sports teams are looking to startups to gain a competitive advantage and also to increase fan engagement. Some sports teams have invested in startups and have developed partnerships with universities that focus on tech-based economic development.
Both the Philadelphia 76ers and the Los Angeles Dodgers have launched their own startup-support programs that hope to aid sports-related entrepreneurs with office space, mentors, and other resources. Nike and Under Armour, sports apparel companies, also are investing in startups, and Under Armour recently announced a 10-year $86 million sponsorship with the University of California.
Gaining access to university research expertise is another advantage for partnerships between sports entities and universities.