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Case Study:

Cloud-based Reporting/Analytics Environment for Pro Football Metrics

football on field

Industry: Sports Analytics

Project Type: Power BI and Analytics / Cloud Solutions

Tools Used: Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft SQL Server Database Engine, Microsoft SQL Server Reporting Services, Microsoft SQL Server Analysis Services, PowerShell.

Project Overview

Pro Football Focus (PFF) is an organization dedicated to providing in-depth analysis of the National Football League (NFL) and National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division-I football in the United States. Using a group of experienced football analysts, PFF produces numerical grades for teams and players by watching and grading every player on every play. Going well beyond the stats sheet, this analysis provides a picture of how each player performed on every play and, cumulatively, for every game and every season.

Pro Football Focus (PFF) needed to provide customers with a secure, interactive, high-volume Internet environment for performing data analysis. The analytics environment cannot impact performance of the transactional data gathering system. The entire environment must be duplicatable at the touch of a button.

Pro Football Focus provides its research and analysis to subscribers. In addition to fantasy football and other uses, many NFL teams subscribe to the service to use as part of their pregame strategy preparation. Statistics and analysis from PFF are also cited during several national NFL telecasts.

In addition to the statistical analysis, PFF creates in-depth articles for its website and social media outlets. PFF also produces several audio programs available via podcast and broadcast on the NFL satellite radio channel.

Project Goals

  • Structured, yet highly interactive format

  • Data presentation environment that could withstand heavy use

  • Robust and reliable presentation environment

Strategy and Solution

Superior Consulting Services (SCS) created a reporting/analytics solution for PFF based on Amazon Web Services with both development and production environments. The entire cloud configuration from provisioning and software configuration to data and custom content restoration is scripted so an existing environment can be copied and stood up in duplicate in a very short period of time.

SCS used SQL Server Integration Services and sophisticated T-SQL scripts to create a robust, automated data loading mechanism for bringing analytical data into the reporting/analytics environment. This process maintains the data in the reporting/analytics environment at a near real-time synchronization with the data entry environment. Finally, this process uses a constant mechanism to ensure data is accurately transferred and kept in synchronization with the data sources.

SCS implemented a reporting/analytics environment using SQL Server instances and SQL Server Reporting Services. Initial reporting was designed and developed by SCS to set standards and best practices used by PFF during subsequent report and analytics development. SCS provided multiple teleconference training sessions.

The Results

PFF now provides its customers with a secure environment for performing reporting and analytics. This environment can easily grow to meet user needs. The environment delivers data with minimal latency while exerting minimal impact on the transactional, data entry environment. Additional copies of the environment, down to the data content and system configuration, can be stood up quickly to facilitate development and load sharing environments.

SCS created a cloud-based environment which provided browser-based analytics to PFF customers. Data is replicated from the data gathering system into a reporting data warehouse. The entire cloud-based server environment and all of its components are scripted, so an exact duplicate of the entire environment can be stood up with minimal effort. 

  • Easy and accurate duplication

  • Heavy use with no lagging or data inaccuracy

  • Attractive and robust analytics environment

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