EB SACkathon combines students, data and basketball

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 EB SACkathon, a competition inviting university students to combine official data of Euroleague Basketball and Synergy from the last two Turkish Airlines EuroLeague seasons with 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 EB SACkathon Finals, taking place this Thursday and Friday at the ImagineCafé in Barcelona, Spain. They will compete for prizes like a three-month collaboration with Euroleague Basketball, five places at the SAP Sales Academy in California, and a €2,000 grand prize.

The jury of the SACkathon will be composed by Francesc Fajula, Chief Alliances Officer de Banc Sabadell; Albert Mundet, Director of Barça Innovation Hub; Eduard Scott, Euroleague Basketball Chief Operations Officer; and Carlos Díaz, SAP Chief Innovation Officer EMEA South.

Alex Ferrer Kristjansson, Euroleague Basketball‘s Senior Director, Marketing & Communication, 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 Díaz, SAP Chief Innovation Officer EMEA South, 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.”

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