The ICC is giving cricket fans insider access to 40 years worth of world cup data, the same used by players

The ICC Cricket World Cup 2015 Quarter Final between India and Bangladesh at the MCG. Photo: Quinn Rooney/ Getty Images.

Creating a better fan experience. This is at the centre of the ICC Cricket World Cup’s latest business strategy.

No longer do fans just watch sport by being at the event or seeing it on TV, rather the integration of the second screen and the Internet of Things has heightened our demand for information.

It is no longer enough to just see it. Fans want to be connected, to feel engaged and to be recognised.

In response, the ICC has downloaded 40 years worth of world cup history into the SAP HANA Cloud Platform and SAP Lumira software so fans can now analyse and simplify ball-by-ball match data in real time – just as players and coaches do to achieve a competitive edge.

“The best thing about it is that as a fan your mirroring what the teams are doing,” said David Richardson, CEO of ICC.

The Hawkeye view on the Match Centre/ The ICC.

“The data you can search and the way you can compare players or teams, is the same way the coaches and the players use the data themselves”.

By putting fan engagement at the core of the business strategy the ICC has increased the user interaction on its website by 5000% to 38 million unique viewers.

Originally the site showed the games rules and regulations of the sport, terms and references, umpire information and match fixtures. Now fans can access statistical data sets to compare teams and players – past and present, interact in the social media forums, see hawkeye trajectory views of the bowls, watch replays of highlights and more, in the home, and on mobile devices via the ICC Match Centre, powered by HANA and Lumira.

“When it comes to broadcast,” said Richardson, “the T-20 format of the game has attracted a whole new audience – females, younger kids – and when they’re watching it they don’t want to hear commentators talking about the technical aspects of the sport, they want to understand the game and these statistics help them do just that.

“It brings the game alive for them in a language that they understand”.

The challenge now for the ICC is how to capture and utilise this massive amount big data being generated by the fans interacting with the Match Centre to deliver the best possible user experience.

Post World Cup the ICC will have to know how to farm and understand this data.

The happiness of the fan is the key to success. Photo: Quinn Rooney/ Getty Images.

Technology lead Jenni Lewis says SAP “will help them (the ICC) understand what they can we do with say the social media analytics, help them to tell the story better to engage fans, to engage media better by using all this extra data.

“It’s just the start of what will be long journey between the two organisations”.

But there’s one catch.

Because the Match Centre has the predictive capabilities of the SAP HANA platform, it is now possible to help identify some of the best bowlers and batsmen at the ICC Cricket World Cup based on the analysis of multiple statistical criteria, and if used inappropriately could be beneficial for gambling purposes or it could impact the integrity of the game.

Lewis acknowledges that SAP has a social responsibility by making this data available, but says it is up to the governing body of the state or the sporting code to regulate this aspect.

“It’s about choosing when to insert technology to make sure that it’s beneficial for everybody.”

The writer was a guest of SAP.

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