EXL leveraged its data and analytics expertise to develop a solution that recommended a schedule that meets the needs of all teams, while aligning specific games to different broadcast slots in a week to maximize viewership

Game scheduling is a tough balancing act for sports leagues. There are numerous factors that must be taken into account – such as how much a team travels between consecutive games, how do various display partners get a fair deal and most importantly maximizing each games’ rating potential.

The goal is to design an optimization solution that recommends the optimal schedule for the upcoming seasons. However, the number of potential permutations and combinations (search space) that the solution needs to consider far exceed any computational capacity available today.

Context

Analytics has transformed sports – from the performance of individual athletes to a deeper understanding of fan engagement and the business side of sports. This includes scheduling right down, to which teams play each other, and when. Optimization can help solve many of the common challenges, like:

  • Managing a large number of variables and constraints to identify the feasible optimal schedule for its viewers.
  • Selecting from among thousands of probable scheduling alternatives.

When a major U.S. sports league needed a faster, simpler way to assign the most popular games on specific dates, EXL leveraged its data and analytics expertise to develop a solution that recommended a schedule that meet the needs of all teams, while aligning specific games to different broadcast slots in a week to maximize viewership. As league officials know, viewership and TV ratings are particularly crucial for TV broadcasting contracts.

Orchestration

Using the right orchestration of people and technology allowed EXL to introduce a better and more effective season broadcast schedule.

With our deep domain expertise and a seasoned pool of data scientists, we conducted workshops with league officials to understand the more subjective approaches used for scheduling in the past. Then, EXL started with quantifying various scheduling factors like network priorities, etc., and translated these rules into a machine-readable mathematical form.

EXL’s advanced analytics solution resulted in more than a $10 million value impact of in-season flexing decisions and on contract prices and revenue.”

Outcome

Once the advanced analytics solution created by EXL was integrated into the existing workflow, the schedule process significantly simplified and completed much faster. The platform provided a solid foundation for the client to enhance the overall viewing experience of sports spectators. In addition, optimized schedule helped the client in better broadcasting leading to maximized viewership across channels. This resulted in more than a $10 million value impact of in-season flexing decisions and on contract prices and revenue.

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