Ralph Greene says data is revolutionizing sports.
Greene, the CEO of Columbia Consulting Group who spoke in April at TechfestNW, worked for Nike for over two decades and helped sign big names like Tiger Woods, Lebron James and Kobe Bryant. He says that opening sports up to technology creates data that helps everyone become a better athlete.
"The old model was really simple," he said. "Practice, play, sleep, repeat."
The leader in re-shaping training, Greene said, was Michael Jordan. "He got a trainer that started breaking the activity of playing basketball down," Greene said. "What happens when you do that is you open up training to data."
Now, Greene said the model that Jordan pioneered is being rapidly developed at college campuses, especially ones with big investments in athletics like the University of Oregon in Eugene.
"If you ever walk into that facility, you think you're walking into a hospital or a lab," Greene said of the U of O gym.
While a lot of sports tech currently caters to elite athletes, Greene sees clear widespread benefit from apps being created. One, called FITR Woman, was launched by a company in Ireland for women marathoners. It gives athletes training advice based on where they are at in their menstrual cycle.
"For example, [the app says]: it's cloudy; it's wet; you're at 2,000-feet elevation; you're on day whatever of your cycle and you race in a month. Here's what you should do," Greene said. "This will eventually benefit everyone, but it started with female marathoners."
With more integration of tech into every aspect of our lives comes the question: Who owns the data? Greene said: "The jury's still out."
"I think in the sports world right now they are grappling with what to do with all the stuff they are capturing," he said.
He added that within the NBA, some franchises are better suited to collect and use data, which puts them at an advantage.
"The Golden State Warriors, they have every data solution and multiple solutions for the same problem," Greene said. "They have three different suppliers just for motion capture. Other teams couldn't spell motion capture."