4 Things We Learned at the 2018 Sports Analytics Africa Conference

Tip of a hat to the team at Eventus International for the outstanding 2018 Sports Analytics Africa Conference.

‘Data-driven’ is a core value at Chalkline, and we were immersed in data during our two days at Sports Analytics Africa.

Four things we learned:

1. We need to mingle more!

Here at Chalkline, we think about the business of sports betting all day, every day, and love what we do.

That said: it was incredible to meet so many proactive and innovative thinkers from sports teams and media companies that we typically wouldn’t come across each day. Eye-opening to see the many smart, data-driven marketing strategies and tactics in play.

2. Sports betting will benefit from a deeper understanding of the ‘sports media + betting’ opportunity.

Teams like the Kaizer Chiefs F.C. have passionate fan bases.

Media companies across the continent create streams of content to feed the insatiable appetite for sports fans.

Sports betting partners will find great value in sitting down with and listening to teams and media companies that understand their fans.

Simple, data-focused tools like BettorGames can drive new customer new customer acquisition.

3. There’s a mutually beneficial opportunity to educate sports clubs and media companies on how sports betting works.

From how we use analytics and business intelligence, to how we think AI will impact our sports betting businesses.

In many cases, we’re speaking to the same pool of media consumers and sports fans, so the sports betting business will benefit from thinking like a media company or team, and providing educational opportunities in return.

A simple starting point: more sports betting operators should attend this very conference.

4. We can learn a lot from data and analytics providers.

As evidenced by the conversations I heard about advances in artificial intelligence and machine learning: things are moving faster than I imagined. Vendors in the space are synthesizing a lot of inputs and helping make theory applicable in real-time.

On a more fundamental level, we learned a couple of items that apply directly to the business of all attendees:

  • According to Nielsen, only 10% to 13% of sports fans are game experts.
  • The biggest group of fans are called “trend positives.”
  • They are driven by big events, CT Sevens Rugby, Durban July HR, Pink day ODI cricket, and social media.

So, for example, the Australian cheating scandal sent social media for Cricket SA through the roof.

All in All

Great event. Learned a lot and met many great industry professionals.

We look forward to keeping the conversation going!

Connect with Jason

Thanks to Tuhin Chattopadhyay, Ph.D. for great lessons on building predictive models from sports data and predicting individual IPL player auction prices from historical players stats as his live example.