The biggest media company you’ve never heard of won an Alpha Award for Best Analytics Innovation/Technology at the MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference last week for their player tracking system called Statcast.
Statcast was introduced publicly by MLB Advanced Media (MLBAM) during the 2014 season in a limited number of ballparks. At the Sloan Conference, Commissioner Rob Manfred announced that all 30 ballparks will have the Statcast system installed by Opening Day this year.
Statcast uses cameras installed in multiple areas around the park to track player movement throughout the game. As you can see from the videos below, the data Statcast can analyze is staggering, spitting out everything from batted ball and player speed to reaction times and pitcher extension.
Dave Cameron, our esteemed head honcho at FanGraphs, was part of a panel at Sloan this year and also reported on the most interesting parts of the panel Manfred was a part of with MLB Network’s Brian Kenny. In a wide-ranging interview with Kenny, Manfred said that Statcast would provide real time data through the premium version of the MLB At Bat App as well as some data on MLB.com. More importantly, Manfred intimated that the model for Statcast data would eventually resemble the PITCHF/x model, with the data being publicly available instead of hoarded by teams.
With estimated revenues of $800 million on 2014, streaming video deals with WWE and Turner Sports, and Statcast technology available in all 30 ballparks in 2015, MLBAM will soon be a media giant that everyone has heard of.