Beginning with the Sweden Invitational Games 2020, Special Olympics will begin testing the implementation of real-time statistics for its competitions. The sport of floorball, similar to floor hockey, will be the test case, though officials indicate other sports are likely to enjoy the addition of live data.

SportTechie covered the news in a story published Thursday.

According to writer Jen Booton, the International Floorball Federation (IFF) has collected data for some time, though the organization’s partnership with Special Olympics will yield greater distribution of match information.

“The key to the sport partnership here isn’t just that they’re allowing us to use their match-tracking software, but also that they're going to post that information on their website, which really broadens the audience that we’re reaching and telling our story to,’ says Jon-Paul St. Germain, Special Olympics Sport senior director.”

“According to St. Germain, this marks a cultural shift in terms of how the organization presents its sports and showcases its athletes. By quantifying athlete performance on the team sports level, Special Olympics is hoping to develop robust storylines about its athletes and present them in the same way that athletes in other sports might be.”

“Our organization uses sport as a platform for individuals with intellectual disabilities to share their gifts and talents, change attitudes about their capabilities and create a more inclusive society,’ St. Germain says. ‘As we get more in-depth knowledge of our athletes and their talents through statistical data, we can recognize them more clearly as footballers, basketball players or sailors, which enables them to build their identify in sport and give them authenticity. We want to use those stats to call out the performance of the individual athlete...”

“Special Olympics is already looking to expand from floorball to other sports, even before the floorball pilot has been completed. St. Germain says the organization hopes to connect with other data partners and is already eyeing opportunities in basketball and soccer at the 2023 World Games in Berlin.”

As has been the case with many of the Free Data Friday releases, a simple brainstorm of possibilities to connect this vignette to horse racing is obvious. Data can be used to tell stories, to market the sport, to engage fans and followers to a greater extent and, of course, to attract wagering and make the sport more sustainable. In some ways, the information shared by Equibase at present is helpful and appreciated, but its presentation leaves much to be desired.

Offering a far more modern approach to racing’s data in the age of analytics would be good business. As this decade comes to an end, the state of data in this sport is another long-ignored blemish in need of significant change.