NFL Teams Up with Cloud Solutions

Photo: NFL
Photo: NFL

Like no other sport in the world, American football stands for the American way of life. Its coverage in the media is enormous, as is public interest:  The 46th Super Bowl in 2012, for example, was watched by an amazing 111 million television viewers – a national record. The championship final is the biggest event in U.S. television each year, and is considered the most popular sporting event worldwide.

The National Football League (NFL) – the pro league in American football – naturally wants to hold on to those fans online as well. And it has managed to do this with its fan website, where registered members can put together their own teams and simulate an entire championship season.

Fantasy football – top notch sport simulation

The NFL turned to cloud solutions from SAP to become the number one fantasy football website: It will benefit from a cloud analytics engine and predictive capabilities of SAP HANA Cloud. This will give NFL the chance to focus on fantasy user growth, not infrastructure. The deal with the NFL gives SAP four million new users – another huge step towards its goal of one billion users by 2015.

“Our solutions are embedded completely in the NFL website,” explains SAP account executive Jonathan Marsh. “The SAP analytic engine and data platform are very powerful. Online gamers can now change their team lineups more quickly and accurately, for example, and even trade players.”

“We are really excited about this solution as it really showcases SAP’s vision around consumer analytics through our cloud, mobility, and Big Data solutions.  Now we can help a fantasy team make a better and faster decision on who they want to sit/start, add/drop, or trade,” say Aaron Graber, director of global CoE for analytics, and Thom Bynum, senior account executive.

Next page: Gamers will be able to simulate championship predictions and trends soon

This will create an even more lifelike gaming experience, because American football thrives on statistics: How long has each player been on the field? Who was off injured when, and for how long? Even things like the weather or the mood of individual players are factored into the online game, and gamers will soon be able to simulate championship predictions and trends as well. “I think that our solutions give the NFL the technical means to rise above the competition in this market,” says Marsh, who also dabbles in fantasy football in his free time.

SAP cloud solutions will help the NFL to differentiate from fantasy football competitors by providing a rich analytical environment for their fans to make immediate decisions and projections based on NFL player changes. If all goes well, the SAP solutions will go live mid-year 2013, just in time for the football season and for fantasy football users to sign up for leagues.

And now there is even more proof that SAP and the NFL make a great team. The San Francisco 49ers, NY Jets, and NY Giants plan to switch to SAP software in their stadiums as well. “Once again, we are proving that when the relationships of the core team are leveraged with the new technology of the cloud organization, big things happen.  That’s cloud at SAP, it’s working, and this is just the beginning,” says Jeff Moses, vice president of cloud sales. Touchdown!

What is Fantasy Football?

Fantasy football is played entirely online in virtual leagues. Each league has 8 to 12 fantasy football teams (fantasy team), made up of real NFL players. These players are either selected during the fantasy draft or bought in an auction prior to the game. Those players not chosen in the draft or acquired by the participants are considered free agents or waivers, and can be traded at any time with players from one’s own team. As soon as the season begins, each gamer tries to find the perfect setup that will win the most points on the coming game day. The online gamer and his team then earn points (fantasy points) based on the real athletes’ performance on game day. Players who are injured, banned, or struggling can be substituted or traded during the season.

It’s usually friends, relatives, and work colleagues who get together and battle for the fictitious title in the fantasy football league. Thanks to the Internet, gaming communities like this one are not bound by time or location, and can sometimes last a decade or more.