The NFL announced the launch of the sixth annual Big Data Bowl, the league's crowdsourcing competition aimed at challenging applicants to use data and technology to create new insights and make the game more exciting for fans. Applicants are eligible to sign up today and start competing for $100,000 in prize money and the chance to present to NFL teams at the 2024 NFL Scouting Combine.
Leveraging Next Gen Stats, this season's Big Data Bowl calls on professional and upcoming data analysts to examine tackling performance across the NFL. Applicants will have access to Next Gen Stats data from Weeks 1-9 of the 2022 NFL season analyzing the location, speed and acceleration of all 22 players on the field, along with the location of the football during a given play. Other Pro Football Focus (PFF) scouting data and advanced statistics such as expected points and win probability will also be included.
Back for this season's Big Data Bowl is the coaching-centric track, encouraging coaches to partner with data scientists on a submission. Additional tracks include the undergraduate track, open to groups or individuals composed entirely of undergraduate students, as well as the metric track, requiring contestants to create a metric that assesses performance or strategy. For each of these tracks, contestants may focus on offensive or defensive players and develop insights on either an individual or team level.
This competition has been a pipeline for members of the football analytics community, as well as other professional sports leagues since the inaugural Big Data Bowl in 2018. In total, over 50 participants have been hired in data and analytics roles in sports, with many joining NFL clubs and vendors. Marc Richards, Kansas City Chiefs football research analyst, and Zach Drapkin, Philadelphia Eagles quantitative analyst, are two recent Big Data Bowl finalists who helped their teams reach Super Bowl LVII.
“The Big Data Bowl has proven to be a strong pipeline for people aspiring to work in football analytics," said Mike Lopez, NFL Senior Director, Football Data and Analytics. “The football data and analytics landscape continues to evolve and our partnership with Next Gen Stats, AWS, and the data science community positions us to provide the tools for innovative ideas, metrics and research to enhance the game."
As part of the Big Data Bowl, the NFL incorporates a mentorship program aimed at increasing diversity in sports analytics by connecting experienced NFL analytics experts with interested beginners. This program will include both individual meetings as well as monthly group training sessions and conclude with a virtual forum where all protégés will have the opportunity to present to analysts from all 32 NFL teams.
“The Big Data Bowl continues to pave the way for the development of new Next Gen Stats," said Julie Souza, Head of Sports, Global Professional Services at AWS. “This season, we've already seen the debut of pressure probability which leverages ideas and concepts from last year's submissions. These advanced statistics enhance the football viewing experience, enabling fans to better understand the remarkable performances of players on the field. Every year, I'm impressed by the talented community of data scientists who continue to push the sports analytics movement to the next level."
Interested applicants can register for the 2024 Big Data Bowl on Kaggle.com. Participants are allowed to work on their own or form teams with other colleagues. Following the submission deadline, all Big Data Bowl entries will be judged by data analysts from NFL teams. Finalists will be announced in early 2024 and will share a prize of $100,000 provided by AWS.
For additional information on the Big Data Bowl, visit operations.nfl.com/the-game/big-databowl.