EB SACkathon combines students, data and basketball

Mar 28, 2019 by Euroleague.net Print

Euroleague Basketball and SAP, world leader in business software applications, have come together for a common purpose: to identify innovative ways of telling stories to basketball fans through stats and data.

Last December, the two companies launched the Euroleague Basketball SACkathon, a competition inviting university students to combine official data from Euroleague Basketball and Synergy Sports Technology covering the last two Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons, using the SAP Analytics Cloud to create stories and predict trends with the objective of helping fans enjoy basketball even more.

Almost 400 respondents from 13 countries answered the call, all of them either undergraduate or masters students of university majors in programming, data analysis, data sciences, marketing and digital strategy, sports management and sports technology.

In the application process, the contestants already found new, interesting facts based on the last two EuroLeague seasons, such as 75% of overtime games being won by visiting teams, teams making 60% of their shot attempts in the first 2 minutes of quarters, or pick-and-rolls that become three-point shot opportunities being effective 35% of the time.

Five teams of two members each were chosen to take part in the Euroleague Basketball SACkathon Finals, taking place this Thursday and Friday at the imaginCafé in Barcelona, Spain. They will compete to win a three-month collaboration with Euroleague Basketball, an opportunity to compete for a seat at the SAP Sales Academy in California, and €2,000.

The jury of the SACkathon will be composed by Francesc Fajula, Chief Alliances Officer at Banc Sabadell; Albert Mundet, Head of Knowledge and Barca Innovation Hub at FC Barcelona; Eduard J. Scott, Chief Operations Officer at Euroleague Basketball; and Carlos Diaz, Chief Innovation Officer EMEA South at SAP.

Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Senior Director, Marketing and Communication at Euroleague Basketball, said:

"As in other disciplines, data has become a fundamental element for basketball, whether for teams to build their game strategies or to give more information and a more attractive narrative to fans. We were pleasantly surprised at the high level of the applications. The conclusions were very valuable and will be very useful for the competition."

Carlos Diaz, Chief Innovation Officer EMEA South at SAP, said:

"In the world of basketball, transforming big amounts of data into predictive elements for coaches and players is critical to enrich an already wonderful sport. Also, students have used SAP Analytics Cloud to discover prescriptive elements like the identification of ideal five-man rotations. At the same time that they do all of this, they are producing incredible graphic visuals that tell stories to fans. Euroleague Basketball has been the best partner to organize this SACkathon. Congratulations to everyone."