It’s obvious at this point: our lives are becoming increasingly data-driven. From the content we consume, to the hobbies we enjoy, and even our healthcare, companies are finding new ways to use data. That’s where EdjAnalytics and EdjSports come in. They help organizations make better decisions with data through artificial intelligence and data science.
The EdjSports Story:
You may ask: what do astrophysics and backgammon have to do with the NFL and sports analytics? In 2001, Chuck Bower (astrophysicist) and Frank Frigo (World Backgammon Champion) set off to prove that the same neural networking programs that were beating the world’s best skilled board game players could help NFL teams make better in-game decisions. That’s when Zeus was born – a computer model designed to assess in-game risk management based on data taken from customizable opponents.
When the game is on the line and emotions are running high, data provided by EdjSports can give coaches an unbiased view of the situation at hand — allowing them to make the best decisions possible. Take the 2018 Super Bowl champs the Philadelphia Eagles for example. During Week 3 in that season, head coach Doug Pederson choose to pass on fourth and eight (against traditional wisdom), while up seven points on the Giant’s 43-yard-line. He saw that by going for it on fourth down, he would increase his team’s likelihood of winning by 0.5%. More and more top-level teams are now trusting the data provided by EdjSports, and it’s having a significant impact on the league.
Introducing Edj CEO Sean O’Leary
In 2013, Frank and Chuck partnered with Sean O’Leary as CEO, to form EdjAnalytics and EdjSports (a subsidiary of EdjAnalytics). Sean has an extensive background in the productization of proprietary data, from his time as CEO and Co-Founder of Genscape, and has been essential to the company’s growth over the last six years.
Sean earned his BBA in Finance and Economics from the University of Michigan and was one of the first to receive an MBA in Entrepreneurship from the University of Louisville. He is a member of the Young Presidents Organization (Bluegrass Chapter), is on the Board of Advisors for the University of Louisville College of Business, and on the Board of Directors for Restorative Justice of Louisville.
In recognition of his skills in leadership and growing successful businesses, he was named as an Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year. After arriving on Endeavor’s radar and being offered a board position, O’Leary decided to go through the process to become an Endeavor Entrepreneur in an effort to help mentor fellow entrepreneurs along their own journey. His mentorship was demonstrated with his work as a panelist this year at Endeavor’s International Selection Panel in Quito, Ecuador, where he helped evaluate and select entrepreneurs who are a good fit for Endeavor membership status.
What Sets EdjSports Apart:
First and foremost, what makes EdjSports unique is their talent pool. EdjSports has recruited some of the best in a wide range of industries, including mathematics, engineering, programming, game theory, and product development.
EdjSports’ secret weapon is their proprietary model, a far more powerful tool than its competition. Instead of calculating Game-Winning Chance (GWC) or win probability by looking at how generic teams are expected to perform, EdjSports customizes each team based on who they are each week in that season simulating each game over 400,000 times.
EdjSports Looking Forward
In 2018, EdjSports acquired Football Outsiders, an accredited source for in-depth NFL and NCAA advanced statistics, including the proprietary DVOA and DYAR ratings systems. Created by Aaron Schatz, Football Outsiders’ provides an intelligent viewpoint challenging conventional wisdom about the game and contributes regularly to ESPN+, EA Sports Madden Ultimate Team, and is widely known for the annual publication of the Football Outsiders Almanac.
With the company’s recent success helping highly ranked NFL teams, EdjSports is branching out to the high school level with EdjVarsity. Now high schools have access to the same powerful tools used by professional teams allowing them to make faster, more accurate decisions.
EdjSports also launched a new consumer website www.edjsports.com giving fans, fantasy players, and professionals deep insights into sports matchups, including Game-Winning Chance predictions and distribution of outcomes for game-total points and game-winning margins. The site currently covers NFL and NCAA football and will expand into other sports, including NBA and NCAA basketball this season.
Sports is at the genesis of Edj, but the company quickly learned that the same data science and machine learning techniques used to help NFL teams can help businesses of all types. In fact, EdjAnalytics now sees a large percentage of its revenue coming from non-sports related clients in the healthcare, fintech, and educational industries. Through O’Leary’s push to adapt the technology to other industries, EdjAnalytics and EdjSports are set to take the data world by storm.