‘The Datafication of Everything’: Toward a Sociology of Sport and Big Data

in Sociology of Sport Journal
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This paper explores the articulations of sport and ‘Big Data’—an important though to date understudied topic. That we have arrived at an ‘Age of Big Data’ is an increasingly accepted premise: the proliferation of tracking technologies, combined with the desire to record/monitor human activity, has radically amplified the volume and variety of data in circulation, as well as the velocity at which data move. Herein, we take initial steps toward addressing the implications of Big Data for sport (and vice versa), first by historicizing the relationship between sport and quantification and second by charting its contemporary manifestations. We then present four overlapping postulates on sport in the Age of Big Data. These go toward both showing and questioning the logic of ‘progress’ said to lie at the core of sport’s nascent statistical turn. We conclude with reflections on how a robust sociology of sport and Big Data might be achieved.

B. Millington is with the Department for Health, University of Bath, Bath, UK. R. Millington is with the Department of Kinesiology and Health Studies, Queen’s University, Kingston, Ontario, Canada.

Address author correspondence to Brad Millington at b.millington@bath.ac.uk.
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