The Business of Sports Data: How Analytics Are Bringing Intentionality in Every Layer of the Sports Industry

March 2, 2023
Patrick Rishe

If sports are a multibillion-dollar engine, the data fueling that engine is big business too. Strategic Market Research puts sports analytics at a value of $2.1 billion in 2020, with a growth trajectory of $16.5 billion by 2030. The rise of machine learning and AI technologies drives this market growth.

Companies like SBRnet provide comprehensive online platforms for nationwide sports business, sports marketing, and sports marketing analytics, utilizing proprietary research to support these data efforts. This aggregation of national sports analysis provides the academic community with a comprehensive Sports Business Resource Center and is a resource for tracking fan trends and behaviors.

Patrick Rishe, host of Suite Talk: The Business Behind Sports, recently welcomed Neil Schwartz, President of SBRnet, to the show to learn more about the genesis of SBRnet and his love of sports data and analytics. Schwartz and his partner purchased SBRnet a couple of years ago. The company was founded in 1998.

“Mark and I bought the business and felt it was a great opportunity that was around; at the time, around 220 universities and colleges worldwide were using the data to help, as this business of sports data, management data, analytics, sports marketing, and entrepreneurial studies, and to do this type of work you need to have data,” Schwartz said. “And Mark and I recognized that really early, and recognized that the wealth and the scope and breadth of data available via SBRnet; we knew when we saw it, this was a business that we would be able to grow and turn into something as we move along in this data-driven world.”

Rishe and Schwartz discussed…

● The data sources driving SBRnet’s analytics.

● Creating original research to aid in sports data.

● Current trends in utilizing sports data and analytics.

“As more schools add sports management, sports marketing, and sports-related programs into whether it’s their business schools, or in the case of Syracuse, their school of human performance,” Schwartz said. “As they add more and more of these programs, and more and more of these degrees, more of these schools are coming to us for data.”

Neil Schwartz has more than two decades of marketing and consumer research experience in the sports, fitness, and active lifestyle categories. Previously, Schwartz worked for SportScanInfo from SportsOneSource, in addition to heading the research team at the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA). Schwartz is a featured speaker at many industry conferences and events. Schwartz is a Syracuse University graduate with a communications and business major.

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