How Team USA uses data to build a digital HQ

Team USA is using Tableau to see and understand their data. Learn how Team USA has built a world-class organization where good decisions begin with data.

Team USA athletes gather on the ice.

Confident decision-making begins with having the right insights at the right time. And when you’re talking about Team USA—one of the world’s most respected and influential sports organizations—making confident decisions is the winning strategy.

Team USA has built a world-class organization where good decisions are made with a data-first mindset, and where data is the common language that unites and empowers everyone to collaborate with confidence and achieve great things. Whether driving engagement with fans, or helping athletes reach their potential, Team USA is all-in with analytics—building a digital HQ with Tableau and Salesforce Customer 360.

Analytics at scale

Team USA realized early in their digital transformation that they needed the ability to quickly consolidate and share data across the organization as efficiently as possible. As they vetted their options, it became apparent that one solution rose above the rest, offering robust visual analytics, powerful governance and privacy controls, and the ability to scale: that solution was Tableau.

According to Team USA, “From the start, the interactive and intuitive interface was a game changer, allowing us to consolidate and share our work with little to no effort. The ability to have reports automatically updated to reflect real-time data changes also freed up so much time for our small but mighty analyst crew so they could spend their time working on other important initiatives, rather than building and revising reports.”

Being able to create single dashboards that could be easily tailored to the needs of different individuals meant that it was possible to share insights, and understand data in new and exciting ways. Adoption grew quickly as Team USA realized that using Tableau made it a lot easier to manage the entire lifecycle of their data and fulfill their mission, guided by data-driven insights.

The International Competitive Analysis team was the first group to reap the benefits, using Tableau to analyze and visualize complex competition results data. Harnessing the power of Tableau, the group was able to eliminate tedious manual processes, and provide key decision makers with easy-to-use dashboards that helped inform new strategic initiatives.

There were already a number of Tableau power-users at Team USA who helped evangelize and support the use of Tableau across the organization (shoutout to the #DataFam!). Today, nearly 20% of the employees are using Tableau to see and understand their data.

Centralizing insights and action

The insights and efficiencies gained from using Tableau and Salesforce are wins for Team USA. Data is foundational to building a digital HQ, and the positive impacts of data-first thinking can be seen across the Team USA organization.

Athlete scouting

“Using Tableau, coaches and athletes can identify and strategize for the tendencies of any opponent they might face.” - Team USA

Team USA relies on a lot of quantitative data to gain an accurate understanding of athlete performance, as well as to assess how the athletes compare with their top competitors. This data is made available via Tableau dashboards to the managing organizations for each sport, known as National Governing Bodies (NGBs). The dashboards are used to generate scouting reports that can be used to evaluate the athletes and help create performance plans. With this information, coaches and athletes are also able to identify strengths and weaknesses, and leverage the findings to create strategies to give athletes an edge against their competition.

Athlete performance

“Recent innovations in data capture through tracking, tagging and wearables have given athletes more data-driven feedback than ever before. In many cases, athletes and coaches have the data to compare competition to training, and now know what benchmarks need to be hit to perform at their best.” - Team USA

Data insights are critical for finding new ways to optimize athletic performance. From behavioral data that tracks an athlete’s sleep patterns, nutrition, and training recovery, to comparative data that shines a light on the impacts of venue conditions or equipment, the NGBs are using a wide variety of “metrics that matter” to gain a competitive edge and improve results. 

Athlete logistics

“Executing an Olympic and Paralympic Games is a massive logistical challenge, and Tableau has helped streamline the information required to make it happen.” - Team USA

The Olympic and Paralympic Games are about reaching the pinnacles of athletic achievement, but long before anyone stands on a podium, there’s the complex logistical challenge of getting everything and everyone that’s needed for The Games—athletes, coaches, uniforms, gear, plane tickets, accommodations, registrations—organized and accounted for. It’s a dynamic area of Team USA’s operations, requiring precise information with little room for error. Team USA relies on Tableau to help streamline all the information involved in this enormous undertaking.

Marketing performance

“We have an incredible opportunity and obligation to understand our fans’ interests, preferences and behaviors to provide them with the best content and experience leading up to, during and after events. Salesforce will give us new power to harness a massive amount of fan data to infer these interests, as well as serve those personalized experiences at scale.” - Team USA

It’s been said that the first step in exceeding your customer’s expectations is knowing those expectations. For Team USA, the answers are in the data. And with more than 50 sports and 90 disciplines, there is no other sports organization with as many opportunities to create superfans. To deliver relevant, world-class fan experiences, the organization mines engagement metrics, and taps into the power of Marketing Cloud to send targeted emails, such as alerts about favorite athletes being named to the team. The payoff? Team USA sees much richer engagement with this approach compared to standard fan campaigns.


“Using Salesforce helps us better understand our donors and prospects in an actionable way, and that success leads to more opportunities for the athletes and programs we support.” - Team USA

Raising money and improving the donor pipeline is a core competency for any non-profit, and Team USA is no exception. Donors play a critical role, making it possible for athletes to focus on attaining their full potential, knowing their basic needs are supported. Training, coaching, travel support, medical and mental health care, tuition grants and more, are funded by donors. The team recently incorporated Tableau visualizations directly in Sales Cloud, increasing user engagement and eliminating the need to use multiple apps to see the big picture. And thanks to an interactive, map-based prospect segmentation tool in Tableau, several new gifts were made to the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Foundation.

Go big, or don’t go at all

“By leveraging tools within the Salesforce suite of products, we anticipate being able to optimize content more effectively and reduce the time needed to create these experiences. Digital technology can bring us closer together and unlock new experiences.” - Team USA

As Team USA describes it, the journey to becoming a fully-realized digital HQ has led to an even more ambitious vision for the future. As the organization prepares for Paris 2024 and beyond, they see many more opportunities to lean in to data insights to create meaningful customer experiences for their fans with more curated touchpoints and more ways to follow Team USA athletes between each Olympic and Paralympic Games. 

And the vision goes well beyond marketing, as Team USA flexes its digital muscles in other areas of the organization. Team USA is actively using Salesforce to manage relationships with potential sponsors and partners, in addition to consolidating sales data and bringing their processes into Salesforce for essential real-time analyses.

Team USA is unifying their organization with data, and in that process we can see that just as sports have the power to bring people together, data has the power to make that dream a reality.

Check out how Tableau is helping fans see and understand performance and training data (and more!) during the Olympic Winter Games Beijing 2022.