Sport Ireland has signed a multi-year partnership agreement with global leader in the field of business analytics software and services, SAS, which will see the multinational become the Official Analytics Partner to the Sport Ireland Institute through to March 2021.

The agreement, a first for the Sport Ireland Institute, will see SAS analytics technology employed across a range of projects within targeted sports in order to enhance preparations and impact performance of Irish athletes at international competitions such as the Olympic & Paralympic Games in Tokyo.

Using information collected by the performance support teams in these sports, the SAS technology will facilitate the creation of dynamic performance databases and interactive tools. The insights from these will help athletes and coaches develop new and improved ways of working to improve athlete performance in training and competitions.

The partnership sees SAS providing a range of benefits to the Sport Ireland Institute including software licensing & hosting, consultancy services and education for key users of the SAS analytics tools.

The use of SAS’ suite of analytics products will allow the Sport Ireland Institute to:

simplify data preparation by interacting with data quickly and intuitively using dynamic charts and graphs to understand key relationships
quickly and easily create better models and put the best models into service, fast
spend less time and effort scoring new data using automated, interactive processes that work in both batch and real-time environments.

Welcoming the partnership, Sport Ireland Chief Executive, John Treacy, said: “The partnership announced today between Sport Ireland and SAS is a very welcome and timely development for all of the athletes and coaches who engage with the Sport Ireland Institute. As we enter a critical phase in the qualification for Tokyo 2020, the technology and expertise SAS bring will have a direct impact on the preparation of our athletes for major competition and provide us with valuable information as we plan for the future.”

Director of the Sport Ireland Institute, Liam Harbison, added: “We are delighted to announce our partnership with SAS. This is an exciting opportunity for the Sport Ireland Institute as we now seek to leverage SAS technology alongside skills and expertise from the corporate sector and apply these same principles to the elite sport environment – potentially joining dots that we didn’t even know existed – in the lead up to the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games.

“We have already identified two projects which these solutions will be especially beneficial for, boxing and swimming, and are excited to see what the results will yield. We will be using a targeted approach, where we apply the technology and thinking to those sports that have a track record of using performance related data. We hope this will help guide decision making for the remaining projects.”

SAS is an analytics powerhouse for organisations seeking to extract value from data. By identifying what is working, and fixing what is not, SAS helps organisations make smarter, evidence-based decisions.

“SAS has a track record globally of using analytics to drive improved performance in sport as well as business, and we are delighted to be announcing this partnership with the Sport Ireland Institute. We have worked for a number of years with British Rowing in the UK and last year signed an eight-year partnership with the Canadian Olympic Committee,” explained Scott Comber, Senior Director of Consulting and Professional Services, SAS UK & Ireland.

“What is exciting about this partnership is the opportunity to work in some new sports, such as boxing and swimming. While analytics will not provide a single answer to everything, what we do know is that it will help the Sport Ireland Institute make lots of smarter decisions based on insights from data. We look forward to helping the Sport Ireland Institute find more innovative ways of working with athletes through analytics, to ultimately improve performance.”

This is a key partnership for the Sport Ireland Institute in its preparations for the Tokyo 2020 Olympic and Paralympic Games, as it seeks to Drive Excellence, Create Solutions, and Impact Performance.

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