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We all seem to hear the words digital analytics and ‘big data’ tossed around a lot in our world of information sharing, but few people really understand what analytics are and how applying them can benefit a sport organization. Digital analytics, at its core, is a way for sport organizations to examine their websites and determine what’s working and what isn’t. Once pinpointed, solutions can be discovered for website and user optimization and goals can be created and met. For those that may not have access to an analytics professional, it’s entirely possible to get the basics down with a bit of research and a few online tutorials.

Where to begin?

Brainstorm – When first starting out, it’s important to answer a few questions, such as: who is your audience, what do your users want from you, and what are they looking for? What specific actions do you want them to perform? What do you want them to take from your site – a ticket to an event, yearly membership, or simply the transfer of information? One of the hardest parts of analytics is not actually crunching the numbers; it is determining a clear strategy that specifies which factors are the most important to the success of the organization.

Determine organizational goals – Goals should be specific, measurable and not necessarily focused on something monetary. Although ticket sales are definitely important, they aren’t everything; analytics can help to:

  • Measure the reach of a sporting event (before and after)
  • Recruit volunteers for a competition or race
  • Inform the community of youth programs
  • Grow the mailing list, newsletters, for example
  • Increase organizational membership

What analytics software should my sport organization use?

The most common, and arguably the best option, is Google Analytics. All you need to do to access it is to create a generic email account that employees can use and set up which generally takes less than five minutes. Of course when encountering the dashboard for the first time, it can be a little daunting to figure out where to start. Thankfully, there are many online tutorials to help you on your way.

Organizations big and small are always looking for ways to reduce costs, and there are quite a few free or inexpensive analytics programs available online (provided below). Website analytics, when interpreted correctly can be an extremely helpful tool for measuring and determining success, discovering what’s broken, and then making improvements moving forward.

For a more in-depth look at getting started with analytics check out some of these additional resources:

Analytics 101 for Sport Organizations – VIA Sport

Top 10 Best Web Analytics Tools

Website tracking for Beginners


Calabro A. Small Businesses Adopting Social Media Technology. O&P Business News. May 2010;19(6):36.

Green B, Murray N, Warner S. Understanding website useability: an eye-tracking study of the Vancouver 2010 Olympic Games website. International Journal Of Sport Management & Marketing. December 15, 2011;10(3/4):257-271.


Shaivitz M. Solving the Mystery of Web Analytics. Associations Now. June 2, 2007;3:17-20.

Thompson A, Martin A, Gee S, Eagleman A. Examining the Development of a Social Media Strategy for a National Sport Organisation. Journal Of Applied Sport Management. Summer2014 2014;6(2):42-63.

The information presented in SIRC blogs and SIRCuit articles is accurate and reliable as of the date of publication. Developments that occur after the date of publication may impact the current accuracy of the information presented in a previously published blog or article.