The “Other” Moneyball: Baseball Business Analytics

With the Major League Baseball season only a month old, spring fever has hit the Fathom team as we reminisce about my favorite sport: Baseball. Incomparable to any other sport, statistics rule the game of baseball. Virtually every conversation about the game mentions a player’s batting average, home-run total, ERA (for pitchers) or one of a thousand other measured stats from the national pastime.

After the release of the best-selling book and award-winning movie Moneyball, there is more attention than ever on statistics in baseball. Though with less fanfare than the player side of the game, business analytics in Major League Baseball is what helps teams drive revenue and provide a better experience for their fans.

Analytics has become an area of focus for most major-league teams over the past few years. Most teams have one or maybe two analysts on staff to help the organization make better data-driven decisions on the business side. Having previously worked in analytics for the Cleveland Cavaliers, I understand the many challenges that these analysts face:

  • Data coming from multiple systems:
  1. Ticket sales
  2. Secondary ticket sales – Stub Hub et al.
  3. Merchandise
  4. Concessions
  5. Social media and other online interactions
  • Lack of internal IT resources to pull and organize the data
  • Financial resources for analysis tools
  • Numerous analytics projects to work on for different areas within the business
  • Too much data to analyze with such a small team

Most professional sports teams do not have the internal resources to fully maximize the revenue opportunities that analytics provide. This is where an experienced team like the one at Fathom can help: gaining a better understanding of your fans, identifying the indicators that lead to a purchase, and strategically marketing to those fans to drive significantly more revenue.

Fathom also offers “do-it-yourself” tools for organizations interested in analyzing the data themselves. Our dynamic analytics tools can help save up to 80% of the time it takes to perform the analysis. This customized interactive reporting platform will free up your analytics team to spend more time on the tasks that will make a bigger impact on your business.

With all of this talk about baseball player and business statistics, it’s important to remember that baseball is a game that creates memories and brings people together. In this spirit, check out a fun video we just put together of Fathom staffers talking baseball:

About Steve Kessen

Steve Kessen is both a director of Fathom’s enterprise solutions and its sports marketing practice. Formerly the vice president and general manager at TeamWork Online, he has worked with more than 750 of the top brands in sports: the NBA, NFL, NHL; MLB, NASCAR, IMG, ESPN Wide World of Sports and many others. Prior to his role at TeamWork Online, Kessen was one of the first ever dedicated analytics professionals in the professional sports business for the Cleveland Cavaliers. In addition to Kessen’s extensive experience in analytics and the sports industry, he has also been a CPA in the State of Ohio while starting his career at Ernst & Young. Kessen holds an MBA from the Case Western Reserve University Weatherhead School of Business and a BBA in accounting from Kent State University. Complementing his full-time role at Fathom, he is also an adjunct professor at the Georgetown University Master of Sport Industry Management program. He resides in Northeast Ohio with his wife and son.

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