Ever wondered who was the best basketball player in the Pac-10 in 1982? If that trivia item has been bugging you since the Reagan administration, Google Cloud Platform and the National Collegiate Athletic Association have some good news for you.
The NCAA has named Google as its “Official Cloud of the NCAA,” which mostly means you’ll see a gazillion ads for Google Cloud during the basketball tournament in March. But sports junkies could learn some interesting historical data from this partnership, as the NCAA also plans to upload more than 80 years of sports data across a number of different sports into Google Cloud, where it wants to use Google’s machine-learning expertise to parse that data.
It sounds like Google Cloud will also be used for statistical presentations during the upcoming basketball tournament, similar to how Amazon Web Services has partnered with Major League Baseball to provide statistical analysis of game action. And the NCAA is also going to use Google’s machine-learning technology to help seed teams prior to the tournament, giving fans something new to blame when their favorite team doesn’t get the nod.
Forbes reported that the NCAA is actually making money on this deal, which means Google is essentially treating this partnership as a marketing expense as opposed to a significant new piece of cloud business. As the market for cloud computing shifts into more and more companies outside the tech industry, mass-market advertising like the kind Amazon Web Services started to do over the second half of 2017 only becomes more important.