SAP is the data and stats analytics partner of the stat-loving NBA. The partners announced details surrounding Season 2 of its advanced analytics, head-to-head reality show, GM School Powered by SAP. It debuts tonight, October 1 at 9 PM ET on NBA TV. The goal is to graduate from #GMSchool as the last one standing which looks amazing on the winning contestant’s resume. The graduate will also be introduced to NBA executives for a career networking opportunity. Last year saw SAP select stat crazy fans for a pilot show to compete in a challenge-based reality contest featuring NBA fans going against one another in a contest to find out which candidate will rise to the top using data-centric skill sets required to be a GM in the analytics-driven NBA environment. For Season 2, SAP, Turner Sports and the NBA took this genius concept to the next level by looking for new contestants, deciding on three new judges and creating more difficult, data-centric challenges for the three-episode, reimagined show to find out who has what it takes to work in the front office. The Sports Techie community blog chatted with David Martinez, Director, Global Sponsorships at SAP, about the evolution of GM School, how the high pressure, data-focused show came together during the pandemic and how SAP continues to transform the way NBA fans are accessing real-time stats and insights. The dream season for aspiring GM’s is winning the NBA Finals and it can all start with finishing GM School. SAP is certainly transforming sports & entertainment through technology.
NBA Sports Tech Evolution By SAP
In 2013, the NBA and SAP launched a new NBA.com stats website, giving fans complex insights about their favorite teams and players unlike ever before using stats dating back to 1946.
Using SAP technology, the site is able to answer almost any question by generating more than 4.5 quadrillion combinations of statistics.
- Since becoming the NBA’s data analytics partner in 2012, SAP has helped transform the way that NBA fans can consume and access real-time stats and unique data-driven insights – making them smarter every click of the way.
- In 2013, the NBA and SAP debuted a new NBA.com stats website, giving fans deeper insights on their favorite teams and players unlike ever before – with stats dating all the way back to 1946.
- Using SAP technology, the site is able to answer almost any question by generating more than 4.5 quadrillion combinations of statistics.
- During the 2018-2019 season, the NBA stats site continued to generate significant fan usage: 75+ million page views (3% increase from previous season), 16+ million unique visitors (6% increase from previous season), 1.6 million hours spent on the site (14% increase from previous season; equivalent of 160+ years). Since its original launch in 2013, the site has more than 372 million page views.
SAP HANA powers the 4.5 quadrillion NBA statistical combinations and resulting insights at NBA.com/stats. Video box scores are tagged with exiting or pivotal plays and associated key stats providing interactive experiences.
The five new stathead contestants are placed into high-pressure, analytics-focused challenges designed to showcase their business skills, decision making speed and the ability to trust their gut reactions in order to win. NBA GM’s make decisions based on career experiences. They must select the right staff and rely on data-driven scouting to formulate decisions while at all times remembering how the CBA works, if a trade offer is legit or whether a draft pick is a sound addition to the roster, and how to stand up the media in a press conference.
Martinez said, “This is more than a sponsorship, everyone involved helped build this from the ground up, couldn’t be more proud of how it came out. I can’t imagine a better example of partner collaboration. If you like basketball or reality TV competition, check it out tonight on NBATV.
Martinez tells me the five new contestants all have deep knowledge of the NBA, the field of analytics and even the ‘Bird Rule.’ One of the contestants, Ben Everett, is a Graduate Assistant role with Baylor Men’s Basketball team where he provides statistical reports, analysis, and player, team and game breakdowns. He will be awarded a Masters in Sports Management in 2021.
The GM School website has trivia challenges, contestant bios, and additional information about SAP technologies helping to make a smarter NBA fan.
GM School Perks
The winning contestant gets to learn more about various NBA departments through a meet and greet. He or she also gets to select between an all-expenses paid trip to an upcoming NBA All-Star Game or NBA Finals in addition to being and enrolled at the Sports Business Classroom happening during the NBA Summer League in Las Vegas.
New Data/Analytics Challenges
- Draft Challenge, where contestants build their ideal NBA roster and create the best team possible using stats and analytics
- Media Session Challenge, where contestants must defend their newly drafted teams during a mock press conference, fielding questions from actual NBA reporters
- Hiring a Coach Challenge, where contestants test their interview skills with a prospective head coach candidate
- Trade Rumor Challenge, where contestants must keep their composure while addressing a player who questions the GM about recent trade rumors
GM School Programming Schedule
All episodes air on NBA TV and will also be available on the NBA’s YouTube channel
- Episode 1: Thursday, Oct. 1, at 9 p.m. ET (30-minute premiere)
- Episode 2: Thursday, Oct. 8, at 8 p.m. ET (30-minute episode)
- Episode 3: Thursday, Oct. 15, at 8 p.m. ET (hour-long finale)
“We’re excited to bring back GM School for another season and, more importantly, give NBA fans a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to get an inside look at how front offices operate and the integral role that analytics are playing in shaping the future of the league,” said Alicia Tillman, global chief marketing officer of SAP. “We’re always looking for new and creative ways to work with our partners like the NBA and Turner Sports to showcase how stats and analytics can make fans smarter – GM School continues to be an amazing platform to help achieve that goal.”
SAP Sports & Entertainment
Commissioner Adam Silver sat down with SAP Sapphire Now Unplugged to discuss recent NBA business development including COVID-19 decision-making.
Be part of the conversation on social media as each episode plays with #GMSchool and follow SAP Sports channels on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram for bonus content, including contestant hometown videos, real-time polls, and more.
Sports Techie, I once thought about becoming an NBA coach, general manager or super-agent as many athletes, coaches and students of the game dream about as well. My real-life experiences in these roles include placing two players I represented as a player agent with the LA Laker tryout camp back when Mitch Kupchak was the Lakers GM. I also participated in a recruiting call for the open Portland Trail Blazers GM position that I was honored to proceed with even though I never got a call back for a second interview. I coached and helped train a team of aspiring professional basketball players at the LA Summer Pro League the year after I was the former Assistant Director of Operations for the original Summer Pro League. As THE Sports Techie for the past ten years, I also have my thumb on the rise of analytics in sports just like SAP.
Martinez has been at SAP for more than 13 years and now oversees sports partnerships, in particular the NBA and all the activations that bring this partnership to life.
SAP is indeed what Dave explained, “A forward thinking, tech focused and global organization.”
GM School rocks.
See you later sportstechie in Seattle, Atlanta and around the world!
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