Pacific launches sports analytics program and new partnership with sports technology leader SMT
University of the Pacific is launching a new specialization to prepare students for careers in sports analytics and unveiling a new partnership with data integration and visualization pioneer SMT (SportsMEDIA Technology).
The unique interdisciplinary program, starting in August in the Eberhardt School of Business, will serve as a sports technology test bed for SMT and will be one of the few of its kind in the nation. Through its partnership with SMT, Pacific’s students will have access to cutting-edge sports analytics technologies.
The global sports analytics market will reach $3.4 billion by 2028, according to Research and Markets, the Dublin-based international research firm.
“This exciting new program responds to a surge in the demand for data-driven decision-making throughout the sports industry,” said Eberhardt School of Business Interim Dean Lewis R. Gale. “Graduates from our sports analytics track will be well-positioned to succeed in this market.”
SMT will install tracking hardware, software and a camera array at Klein Family Field, the baseball venue for Pacific, to measure pitches, batted balls and fielding. The tech company will use other Pacific athletic venues as beta-testing sites for its current and new technologies.
“SMT’s collaboration with University of the Pacific has led to this novel partnership that will advance concepts in sports technology,” said Cameron Adams, SMT Implementation Lead, FIELDf/x College. “Pacific has generously opened its doors to SMT, and we anticipate great achievements through this unique alliance between SMT and the naturally inquisitive minds of the student population of Pacific.”
SMT and Pacific faculty will work together on creating sports analytics lessons that could then be used as a model by other colleges and universities across the country.
“As an industry leader in sports data collection and visualization, SMT shares University of the Pacific’s interest in expanding access to technology and data,” Adams said.
“The promise of improved decision-making through data lies in the democratization of the field: The more bright, creative people who analyze a problem, the greater chance of a technological breakthrough. In turn, we hope to implement those lessons through similar programs and coursework at other universities to further expand access.”
Sports analytics will join other specializations at the Eberhardt School such as sport management and business analytics. Students in the sports analytics track will combine rigorous core courses in business, mathematics and computer science to learn how to apply analytical skills to measure and predict individual athlete and team performance.
In addition to internships with professional teams, the sports analytics students also will enroll in a practicum, with each student assigned to one of the university’s Division I teams to work on real-time data collection and analysis. Pacific plays most of its 17 sports in the West Coast Conference.
Pacific Athletics Director Janet Lucas said the new program and the new partnership with SMT will provide the university’s athletic programs “a distinct competitive advantage.”
“This special collaboration between academics and intercollegiate athletics will allow students in the sports analytics track to more fully realize the impact of their efforts, deeper analysis and innovative skillset on the world of competition through the results achieved by the Pacific Tigers,” Lucas said.
SMT was founded in 1991 by CEO Gerard J. Hall, who developed the first electronic scoring and data delivery system for the PGA Tour, replacing the hand-held walkie-talkie method in place at the time. With numerous industry awards, including 36 Emmys, a sample of SMT’s innovations include the electronic scoreboard and serve speed system for tennis; the virtual yellow first down line for the NFL; and virtual strike zone graphics for MLB. More recently, SMT has developed sports technology involving biometrics, telemetry, augmented reality and player and object tracking.