Playoff-Bound Baseball Gets Big Data Boost

Baseball is one of the frontiers of big data innovation because there’s so much money involved in it. Tuesday, Major League Baseball said it sold the broadcast rights to games through 2021 to News Corp. and Time Warner for $6.8 billion. But MLB’s foray into media goes beyond television and into online tracking and analysis.

Indeed, some of the most cutting-edge examples of Big Data can be found at five ballparks across the country. There, Major League Baseball is testing a system that tracks — in real time — every moving person or object on the field, including three base runners, nine fielders, the ball and the umpires. Called FIELDf/x, the system will generate defense statistics, including the difficulty of a catch and the probability that a particular fielder will make it.

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