As a longtime fan of the New York Mets and a longtime employee of SAS, I'm particularly excited about the start of the World Series. In 2014, the Mets and SAS formed a partnership to use SAS analytics to help the organization build stronger relationships with its fan base. While the vast majority of the credit for the Mets' success belongs with the players and coaches, I think that makes SAS a small part of the organization’s World Series run as well!
There's no denying that analytics has become an integral part of baseball. Sabermetrics, the empirical analysis of baseball, started the craze. A number of books, and movies like Moneyball, made baseball analytics mainstream.
Today every MLB team collects data using Pitchf/x, Hitf/x and Fieldf/x systems. These systems place cameras in strategic locations at MLB ballparks to track everything from speed, location and trajectory of a pitch to speed off bat and elevation angle of a batted ball. GMs and club managers analyze this data to help them make decisions on which players to trade, acquire or release, and make any of a number of in-game decisions. (BTW, SAS is used by many professional organizations to help with player analytics.)
In 2014, SAS and the Mets expanded the use of analytics to the fan experience. Using the power of SAS analytics, and adjustments to the team's sales and marketing organizations, the Mets have built a fan engagement hub that gives the club a 360 degree view of its fans. The data is used to enhance a fan's enjoyment of the game and help personalize communications and promotions.
“With SAS, the Mets are able to analyze all this data – from when and where a fan buys a ticket to the seat they select, what drink they enjoy with their hotdog, and the merchandise they buy – to improve the fan’s experience,” said Jim Tobin, National Sales, SAS Sports industry practice.
The team also uses SAS to analyze social media and mobile communications to gauge fan sentiment of the team, its players, and games. My guess is they've had pretty positive sentiment of late!
The Mets are only one of many sports organizations using SAS. SAS helps professional sports teams around the world such as the Orlando Magic, the Toronto Maple Leafs, Major League Soccer and others, improve fan insight and engagement, operations, player management and marketing.
So when the Mets take the field tonight, in some ways, SAS will be there with them. I'm hoping that means they'll send me a ring when they beat the Royals.
Let's go Mets!