February 6, 2017

La Trobe University creates Australian-first sports analytics degree

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A new course will train Australasia’s first group of specialist sports analysts and help teams stay ahead of the game.

Melbourne’s La Trobe University will this year open enrolments to Australia’s first Master degree in Sports Analytics.

The course is a response to a revolution underway in the $1.5 trillion global sports industry that has seen clubs, leagues and other sporting bodies transform their approaches to athlete performance, recruitment and game strategy.

La Trobe University Pro-Vice Chancellor of Research Development, Professor Russell Hoye, said the new course will be taught by industry leaders and give students the skills required to keep players at peak performance.

“More precise health and performance monitoring, video technology, GPS tracking and more sophisticated sports statistics are generating millions of data points in every week of sports competition,” he said.

The Master of Sports Analytics will meet the emerging demand from sporting codes, here and overseas, for professionals who can analyse data to help a team win more often or an organisation improve results for athletes.

In North America, 90 per cent of Major League Baseball and 80 per cent of National Basketball Association teams employ data analysts.* The discipline is growing quickly in Australia, as well. Sports analytics has been flagged as a priority area by the country’s largest sporting organisations including the AFL, AIS, NRL and A-League.

Associate Professor Stuart Morgan, a nationally recognised leader in the field, will head the program.

He has more than 15 years of industry experience, primarily working with the Australian Institute of Sport where, he said, he looked to employ professionals who knew sport inside out, who could use cutting-edge data technology and could translate findings into “real-world wins.”

“But we didn’t find many people with these advanced expert skills,” Associate Professor Morgan conceded.

“If you want to be a sports analyst you need to understand sport and you need to be able to handle data analysis. You are making yourself more competitive in a highly competitive job market by having these extra skills that make you a hybrid sports scientist.”

Students will also learn the skills required to compete for jobs in organisations overseas such as the NBA, NFL or MLB, leagues that are already using data to change the nature of their competitions.

The course will run at La Trobe’s Collins St Campus. For more information, head to La Trobe’s Master of Sports Analytics homepage.

*Temple University, Institute for Business and Information Technology, Sports Analytics: Advancing Decision Making Through Technology and Data.


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