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Big Data in Professional Sports

Big Data. The amount of data that is stored in data warehouses across the globe in absolutely massive. It is continuing to grow at rapid speeds as well. Big Data is used to analyze and predict a lot of things such as potential health issues, likelihood to buy something, and a variety of different trends with consumers in the marketplace. Apps and social media sites such as Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat may be “free” for us to use, however the amount of data that is being recorded by theses apps is sold to marketing research companies who analyze the data. Many people don’t realize how much information they are willingly giving away to these social media services. Big Data is Big Business. And as I mentioned earlier, it’s only getting bigger.

While Big Data can be used for a variety of things, it is being used more and more in sports and athletic performance. Coaches and players want to know how to be the most successful in every situation. They can do this by analyzing data that is gathered by a group of analysts throughout the games and practices when the players perform. For example, the NBA Houston Rockets have implemented an entire Analytics Department devoted to the studying and analysis of player performance. Daryl Morey, the current general manager for the Rockets, was the key influence in this implementation and use of analytics for the Rockets. I have attached an article below that touches on the reasons why and how Morey’s analytical mindset has worked wonders for the Rockets organization.

Use of Analytics with the Houston Rockets

Since Daryl Morey’s success using analytics with the Rockets, more and more teams in the NBA and other leagues as well, are using Big Data gathered from player performance. This technique is no secret and teams everywhere are jumping aboard the analytics bandwagon. It will be interesting to see how much of an impact data analytics will have on sports performance in the future.

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Routine Baseball “Lifestyle Apparel”

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What Is Routine Baseball?

Routine Baseball is a unique, up and coming online clothing company which offers a fresh twist to off-the field apparel for baseball and softball players. This is a company which I have followed nearly since its launch and have been a repeat customer to. The online-baseball community is fairly close knit especially through twitter. That being said, once routine hit the web, it caught fire across the nation mostly through social media outlets. Before online shopping was around, we as consumers were bound by whatever Nike, Reebok, Adidas etc.. products that our local sporting goods stores carried; however, with the boom in online shopping, we as consumers have hundreds if not thousands of athletic apparel companies to choose from. Not only that, but it is common to see niche like products appealing to specific aspects of the sports world and doing quite well at that! This is the approach that Routine Baseball has taken to their clothing line and has succeeded doing it.

Why Does it Sell?

Routine Baseball is a unique product plain and simple.images Ok, yes there may be a thousand other clothing brands which have incorporated baseball into their products, but none quite like Routine. Routine Baseball uses baseball references, catch phrases and slang that (for the most part) only ball players understand as well as many other designs. By doing so, Routine has created a product which consumers are able to connect to on a higher level. Now I know that when you think of wearing a saying on a T-shirt you may right away think of a middle age man walking around Disney World wearing a graphic tee saying: “I’m with stupid” or something cheesey like that. However this product is far from such. Not to mention the products are high quality and well designed as far as fitting and materials are concerned. I can say from experience as a former varsity baseball player, that the routine line is what is “In” in the baseball community.

Words from the owner

I was able to get in touch with co-founder of Routine Baseball, Tony Knapton, and he was kind enough to even answer a few questions regarding the business.

Q: “First question being, How did you come up with the idea for Routine Baseball and what inspired you to create your line of products?”

A: “The company’s idea was formed back in college. I was sick of wearing my college shirts and old high school baseball shirts and wanted something more. Something not confined to school colors and something that was more fashion forward and not so ‘corporate’ looking. I figured if basketball can have a brand (Jordan) and the skate boarding culture can have a bunch of brands, then why not baseball? At that time, I was a broke college student so the idea of running a business was completely out of the question. So flash forward like 5 years – I was two years out of college and hated my job (I was detailing cars) and one night the idea of this company came rushing back. That night I designed two of the tees, the logo, and the splash page to our first website. I emailed the idea to a buddy and he was on board immediately. From there we scrapped up some money to get a few boxes of tees and hit social media. We sold those out of my buddy’s basement and took the profits and ordered more tees… and so on. Flash forward a little over three years…. and here we are today.”

Q: “Secondly, Why is it that consumers have connected with your product or what is it about The Routine line that draws people towards your products?”

A: “I think the idea of wearing a brand that depicts your lifestyle is intriguing. Clothing can say a lot about who you are, so when we created this ‘lifestyle’ brand for baseball players, they were immediately drawn to it. I think our focus on creativeness combined with our dedication to better quality items, quality service, and having fun on social media makes our customers more connected and dedicated. Even though we play Golden Tee in our hangout room on an 18′ projector and post pics of us going to baseball games all the time, we take the business end of things extremely serious. Our goal was and still is, to create a full scale ‘brand’ and not just clothing. So whether that’s creating a community through social media or focusing on our blog some more – we want a place where baseball players can unite, laugh, and look good in the process! I also think our edgy attitude caters to our market pretty well. We’ve taken some heat from parents for some of our stuff (like the old Slump Buster tee or the Lenny Yardsmith tee that read ‘Where my pitches at?’ for example), but it’s who we are – so we’re going to stick to it.”

Q: “And lastly, are you solely an online company or are there retailers where Routine Baseball products can be found?”

A: “We are completely online right now. With the way e-commerce has continued to increase every year, we have been extremely patient with the idea of going retail. It’s not as necessary to succeed as it used to be, but is on our radar for the upcoming year or so. We’ll be opening our own retail store right here at the HQ in Milwaukee in the upcoming months, so that is the next step in moving towards the retail sector.”

And there you have it! A college student turned entrepreneur who created a successful online business by solving a problem, pursuing a passion and creating a unique high-quality product in a niche market. I would like to Thank tony for his time and also encourage anyone who is interested to check out their awesome gear over at: www.routinebaseball.com .

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Why MapMyFitness is the Best Internet-based Fitness Community

With dozens of quality fitness trackers on the internet it can be hard to decide which one to use.  Do you want your workouts to have a game element to it, unlocking new levels and prizes?  What about one that syncs with your high tech gear?  Or would you like to be in competition with millions of other users around the world?  There are apps and websites that fit each of these categories, but MapMyFitness is by far the most popular and user-friendly.  What makes this site the leader in Connected Fitness, not only for in customer experience, but as an entrepreneurial endeavor as well?a53e9_3-mmf-create-a-route

1.  Sticking to Core Principles: Making Fitness Social, Simple, and Rewarding

MapMyFitness caters to the individual and the community.  Each of its 20 million members has a profile that allows them to keep track of mileage and fitness goals.  Users are walkers, runners, and bikers – each activity with a specialized website.  Dividing the activities into these three categories allows for stronger collaboration between members.  Runners and riders can easily map out and share routes with others.  Results at the end of a workout are posted to user profiles, along with stats showing how one stacks up against other members.  There is even the option to share workouts on social media sites, keeping members accountable and bragging.  Facebook glory is not the only reward.  Users can sign up for MapMyFitness challenges sponsored by outside companies for the chance to win cash and gear.  The user friendly interface and fun ways to share routes and successes with the world set MapMyFitness apart from other sites with complicated bells and whistles.

2. Useful Fluff Features

Sometimes a website can be hard to navigate when there are so many features to sift through.  Fortunately MapMyFitness found a clean way to fix this problem.  The site allows members to customize their experience and set their own goals.  For example, if a cyclist wanted to lose weight they could pick a weight loss challenge, log a food journal complete with a calorie tracker, and  track calories burned during their workout.  If the goal is to get faster or stronger users can subscribe to training plans, coaching, and online workout classes.  Other helpful features include Route Genius, which automatically finds a route based on location and the distance you want to travel, local running/biking information for various cities, and comprehensive workout history analysis.  Whether a member is looking to maintain or improve, this site has tools to assist at any level.

3. Long-term Business Model

As a lifetime high level endurance sport competitor, MapMyFitness co-founder Robin Thurston understands the importance and sentiment in reflecting on your body of work as an athlete.  For this very reason he aimed to make MapMyFitness a lasting organization.  In an interview with mixergy.com he explained:

“I want people, if you’ve been running or riding your bike for 30 years, we want people to go back after 30 years and to be able to see everywhere in the world they’ve run, everywhere they’ve ridden, the types of activities they’ve done, who they’ve shared that with, who they shared that experience with. And I think it’s really important for people to understand that if you’re storing all that really important information with a company, that there’s a part of that you should maybe in the back of your mind think “I don’t ever want to lose my fitness data, I don’t want to lose that information.” And so building a business that has a revenue model, and is really focused on that I think is key…”

4. Sustainable Revenue Stream and Open Platform

MapMyFitness creates revenue through MVP subscriptions and advertising.  Finding companies who want to advertise on MapMyFitness’s website and apps is simple, because their active audience is constantly looking for the latest sport technology.  MapMyFitness was also recently bought by Under Armour, a company with huge financial resources.  They also run on an open platform, which smoothly integrates with an incredible 400 fitness tracking devices, sensors and wearables.  MapMyFitness’s transparency and willingness to collaborate with brands like Under Armour has allowed this idea to take off.

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The people of MapMyFitness know fitness and love innovation.  Because of their passion to help others succeed in their physical goals, they are succeeding in the virtual world.  With their new Under Armour partnership and opportunities in multiple athletic territories they have yet to enter, the road in front of MapMyFitness has no end in sight.

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Nike Fuelband Versus Body Media

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As America becomes more health conscious, companies are producing more and more useful technology for staying in shape.  Most people associate technology as keeping people sedentary, sitting in front of some kind of screen.  But there are many new technologies that are pushing for fitness.

This is the latest thing from Body Media, who are featured on the show Biggest Loser.  On the show each of the contestants are equiped with one of these arm bands.  They cost around $150 for the device and a 7 dollar online subscription to use the website it couples with.  They allow you to enter your calorie intake and it monitors how much exercise and activity you get throughout your day.  They monitor what’s is going on in your body so that you can better motivate your self to reach you goals.

There is one other such device that caught my eye as well.  The Nike Fuelband  is a similar such device that receives information about how many calories you eat and monitors your exercise.  Its sleek design has won it some attention in the design world as well.  It is a comparable price to the Body Media devices but without the subscription and it is less bulky.  The difference I see in the two is Body Media’s angle towards weight loss and Nike’s focus on fitness.  The big selling point for this device is the way it displays how much exercise you still need to accomplish per day.  It is definitely a very cool looking device.

In both cases I believe they are worth a consideration if you want to lose weight or get more fit and happen to have some extra money laying around!

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Professional Social Media: Pro Athletes Using Twitter

Professional athletes have been making headlines for many years here in the United States; however, some have been making headlines based on posts that they made on their Twitter pages. For those who do not know, twitter.com, is a microblogging social media outlet. Posts are 140 characters are less and many celebrities, athletes, and TV personalities have been using it to gain more fans and followers. Today athletes have been causing arguments based on how professional it is for them to be using Twitter especially during competition or about their team that they are employed by. Two of the more controversial tweets  by athletes over the past two years have been by NBA mega-star Lebron James. He tweeted:

This was in response to many people who criticized him on his decision to leave the Cleveland Cavaliers for the Miami Heat. The other one was by Pittsburgh Steelers starting running back Rashard Mendenhall:

This was in response to the news that Osama Bin Laden had been killed.

The bottom line is that these men and women are in the limelight 24/7 whether they like it or not. That is what they signed up for when they became a pro athlete. They do not have to be role models per se and everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but I think some of these athletes need to be more conscientious about their social media “game.” Twitter is a great use and following many celebrities and athletes is worth while, but due to their place in the public eye it is their duty to make sure that they are responsibly keeping up with their social media networks. That is my opinion, what is yours?

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Hey Pittsburgh! The Pirates Have A Future!

The Bad: 18 straight losing seasons, fan’s have jumped “ship” (pun not intended), rumors of potential re locations

The good: A bright future

For most people who know nothing about baseball, they say the pirates will never be good. These naysayers say that new management will just trade the good talent, and around and around we will go just like the past 18 years.

Well I want to take a few weeks and instill some baseball sense to these people. So far so good for the new management in Pittsburgh. If one looks around at low market teams who win (Marlins in ’03, Oakland, Rangers, and Tampa Bay, etc) they will find a winning formula. While these teams payroll have increased due to this formula, they do not have the same payrolls of teams such as The Yankees, RedSox, Mets, etc..

What is this formula?:They draft very well, they develop these players, they add low cost free agents and trade them for younger talent. After getting the core players in the majors, they continue to develop and then surround these players with veterans who know how to win.

This is just the ground work, a foundation per se, for future posts about what the Pirates as an organization are doing. Keep heart Pittsburgh, there is a light at the end of this long dismal tunnel.

                                                            

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