The Boston Red Sox, champion of Major League baseball in 2004, are one of many sports teams for whom information technology has become an important if low-profile team member. For an owner, the use of IT may mean the difference between profit and loss; for the team manager, between a losing or a winning season. While computers have long been used in managing ticket sales and other aspects of stadium operation, the Red Sox are among teams that now use specialized software to assist in scouting and computerized video analysis of play and players. Baseball has always been supremely statistics-conscious; today, business intelligence software can be used to uncover strengths and weaknesses of opposing teams and players and to decide how much a team should be willing to pay a player.
Red Sox owners John Henry and Tom Werner may be representative of many IT-sophisticated team owners, but their special commitment to IT may have contributed to their team's success in 2004 (the Sox hadn't won the championship since 1918 and Boston fans, known for their ability to endure, were beginning to think it might be something only their children would live to see). Red Sox General Manager Theo Epstein reportedly became a fan of Sabermetrics, an approach to statistics that is said to evaluate players more effectively than the usual statistics (such as runs batted in). One software package the Red Sox use is ScoutAdvisor, which is said to be able "to slice and dice player data any way you ask." Similar software packages for analyzing the contributions or characteristics of corporate personnel are available.