The National College Athletic Association will migrate more than 80 years of NCAA statistical data to Google’s Cloud platform as part of a multi-year marketing and technology pact.
As part of the deal, the NCAA named Google its “official cloud provider,” and will use the company’s machine-learning expertise to parse data for fans and commentators.
“Google Cloud will allow us to migrate decades of historical sports data,” NCAA chief information officer Judd Williams said in a statement. “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.”
It’s not the first time a major cloud provider has teamed up with a sports league. Amazon Web Services has partnered with Major League Baseball to provide statistical analysis of game action.
The NCAA is also going to use Google’s machine-learning technology to help seed teams prior to its March Madness tournament. The deal includes a full media plan, with custom branded content that will run during games and on digital platforms.
And it’s also set to enhance NCAA broadcasts.
“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.
But according to Forbes most of the cash in the deal will not go to Google. Instead, Google stands to benefit from the marketing opportunity that comes from the partnership in “exposure during the games themselves and through the access to its analytics tools.”
“It’s an opportunity that doesn’t come around all that often,” Tariq Shaukat, Google Cloud’s president of global alliances and industry platforms told Forbes. “We think it will substantially help with operations and the fan experience, and we think it’s a wonderful show-versus-tell opportunity.”