The datafication of everything: Toward a sociology of sport and big data

Brad Millington, Rob Millington

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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)140-160
Number of pages20
JournalSociology of Sport Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2015
Event4th International Conference for Qualitative Research in Sport and Exercise - Loughborough, UK United Kingdom
Duration: 1 Sept 20143 Sept 2014


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