How The Boston Celtics Improved Their Basketball Analytics Capabilities Using Cloud


The 78-year-old NBA team moved its IT stack from CTO Jay Wessland’s back office to AWS infrastructure as big data began to flow in. The era of big data was still a ways off when Boston Celtics CTO Jay Wessland joined the National Basketball Association club in 1990, particularly in the context of professional sports.

It took six years for digital data to become more affordable than paper, and it took an additional six years for the Oakland Athletics of Major League Baseball to use analytics during their unforgettable season, which author Michael Lewis chronicled in his 2003 book “Moneyball: The Art of Winning an Unfair Game.” 

Celtics’ Gathering Basic Statistics On A Courtside Computer Since The 90s

The Celtics‘ 1990s modernization included gathering basic statistics on a courtside computer, a technique that didn’t catch on until Wessland came. The IT had not progressed much by the time the 78-year-old NBA team named Wessland Director of Technology in 2000. In 2016, the company elevated him to CTO.

“In today’s world, everything revolves around the tech stack and technology. I couldn’t imagine why a pro sports team would even need a CTO,” Wessland remarked last month in a virtual event commemorating his organization’s almost complete six-year trip to the cloud. Elastic computing and scalable storage provide professional sports, like any other large organization, a competitive edge both on and off the court. Professional sports are data-driven, IT-dependent enterprises.