Google Cloud Will Analyze 80 Years of NCAA Sports Data in Its First Corporate Partnership

Starting with this season’s basketball games

Sports fans will be able to sort through decades worth of NCAA data. Photo Illustration: Dianna McDougall; Sources: Getty Images, Google
Headshot of Jason Lynch

Google Cloud is ready for its first corporate partnership, and it’s a big one: The company is teaming with the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), along with Turner Sports and CBS Sports, for a multi-year marketing and technology pact in which Google Cloud will migrate and analyze more than 80 years of statistical and game data.

As part of the deal, Google Cloud will become the official NCAA Cloud Partner, beginning with the current Division I men’s and women’s basketball seasons. The data analytics and insights will be shared with NCAA fans, players and commentators.

The partnership includes a full media plan, with custom branded content that will run during games and on digital platforms.

Google Cloud Platform will use its services like BigQuery, Cloud Spanner, Datalab, Cloud ML and Cloud Dataflow to analyze the data, which will cover 90 NCAA championships and 24 sports. Once the data is migrated, NCAA members and fans will be able to search and compare player and team stats, and get access to “near real-time simulations.” NCAA will use Google Cloud’s data and analysis to help determine its selection and seeding process.

“By leveraging Google Cloud’s expertise in data analytics, machine learning and AI, the NCAA will find new ways to enhance decision-making capabilities across multiple athletic programs—from the selection and seeding process to programming,” said Tariq Shaukat, president, global alliances and industry platforms, Google Cloud, in a statement. “We’re excited to be part of the NCAA’s digital transformation where they can use data and deep insights to better engage with millions of fans, nearly half-million college athletes, and over 19,000 teams that make up the NCAA.”

The NCAA and Google Cloud said the partnership will offer new insights from the NCAA’s 80-plus years of historical sports data.

“We’ll work with Google Cloud’s team to create new ways that fans will be able to access and search data surrounding March Madness and more, and we will continue to discuss data-driven strategies across multiple content platforms that will enhance digital experiences in other areas,” said NCAA chief information officer Judd Williams in a statement.

The deal will enhance NCAA broadcasts as well. “With Google Cloud, we’ll be able to deliver an unprecedented level of real-time insights across every platform, making college sports more accessible, engaging and fun for viewers and fans around the world,” said Will Funk, evp of property marketing and corporate partnerships at Turner Sports, in a statement.

@jasonlynch Jason Lynch is TV Editor at Adweek, overseeing trends, technology, personalities and programming across broadcast, cable and streaming video.