As technology has improved over the years we’ve seen a huge spike in the use of sports analytics. Nowadays almost every decision is made with the help of our precious data. This is no different in the sports world, where every inch matters. With data usage on the rise, it’s no surprise that someone like Cynthia Frelund, a predictive analytics expert, has carved out a niche in the sports media world.
Whether it’s an NBA team trying to figure out how many three pointers it should take or an NFL coach deciding to go for it on 4th down, analytics are playing a huge role in the decision-making process across sports. Frelund has found a major niche here, and she’s become one of the foremost analytics experts in sports media.
While you may know her from her days at ESPN or her current role with the NFL Network, we’re going to fill you in on everything you need to know about Cynthia Frelund.
Early life and education
Born in Okemos, Michigan, Frelund has always had a knack for math and a love for sports. She grew up as a die-hard Detroit Lions and Barry Sanders fan. While she loves the NFL, she is also a close follower of the NBA, MLB and PGA Tour. Frelund lives a healthy lifestyle. She is a certified Pilates and group fitness instructor and used to teach workout classes at Equinox.
Frelund has 23 marathons under her belt, and wants to run one in every state in the country. For her runs, she partners with Bright Pink, an “organization focused on prevention and early detection of breast and ovarian cancer in young women.”
As an undergraduate, she attended Boston College, where she majored in biology. Frelund then attended grad school at Northwestern, where she received an MBA in Finance, Entrepreneurship and Innovation. As if one Master’s Degree wasn’t enough, Frelund doubled up and earned another Master’s Degree in Predictive Analytics.
Career before ESPN and the NFL
Unlike most people in sports media, Frelund’s first job was in finance. After graduating from Boston College, she took an analyst role with a company called Fusion. After three years with Fusion, Frelund worked in financial strategy with the NFL, which lasted less than a year. She says it wasn’t until she worked with the NFL that she got into analytics. In an AMA on Reddit, she learned that she could “use the things learned in business and apply them to sports in a unique way.” She says she “just loves the strategy behind analytics, honestly. Plus the fact that there’s set outcomes, you can either be right or wrong.”
For the next five years Frelund moved between Chicago, New York and LA, where she worked as a group fitness instructor. After a good amount of time leading fitness classes, Frelund rejoined corporate America, this time in a business development role at ABC. After two years with ABC, she was hired by ESPN.
Cynthia Frelund’s time at ESPN
Frelund got her start in the Worldwide Leader’s technology department as an associate director. She then transitioned to ESPN’s Next Gen Stats department, where she worked as a producer in content strategy. With the rise of companies like FanDuel and DraftKings, ESPN had to get some skin in the daily fantasy game.
Frelund combined her analytics background with her love of sports and the rest was history. As Daily Fantasy grew, Frelund transitioned to an on-camera role with the network.
Frelund became ESPN’s Daily Fantasy Expert, appearing on TV to give analytics based tips on setting your fantasy football lineup. After the daily fantasy craze started to slow down, so did ESPN’s coverage of it. Although Frelund did an excellent job, it was time for her to move on. After about a year of daily fantasy analysis, Frelund left ESPN for a new job with the NFL.
Cynthia Frelund and the NFL
In 2016, Frelund was hired by the NFL to be the league’s Predictive Analytics Expert. “Cynthia will break down complicated data and statistics, recognize patterns and trends, and then translate it in a way that is easy for fans to digest and understand,” NFL Media executive producer Michael Mandt said, when the move was announced. “She is a great addition and makes fans smarter, fantasy owners better and does so in a way that no other football analyst does.”
You can see Frelund on the NFL Network, where she offers up her projections and picks to fantasy football fiends all over the country. She appears on shows such as NFL Fantasy Live, GameDay Morning, and even hosted a podcast called Game Theory and Money with Matt “Money” Smith.
On top of her on-camera work, Frelund also writes for NFL.com and this year, released her own analytics-based 2021 NFL Mock Draft. Like every other mock draft, Frelund has the Jaguars picking QB Trevor Lawrence, but has the Jets drafting offensive lineman Rashawn Slater out of Northwestern instead of QB Zach Wilson, like most expect the Jets to do.
Cynthia Frelund’s Relationship status and Net Worth
As far as we, and the rest of the internet knows, Frelund does not have a husband. It is fairly normal for members of the media to keep their personal lives private, and we can’t seem to find anything regarding a relationship.
At the age of 41, Frelund has an estimated net worth of $3 million dollars. Because her assets are not public, take this estimation with a large grain of salt.
With the importance of analytics not going away anytime soon, you can expect to see Cynthia Frelund for years to come. Not that we expect her to leave the NFL, or the sports world in general, but with her background, we expect that she will be doing big things for years to come.
Cynthia Frelund is a great example of a talented person with a lot of interests who wasn’t always sure what she wanted to be when she grew up. She entered college thinking she would end up in the medical field, got a job in finance, went back to school and finally ended up at The NFL. While it’s good to have a plan, Frelund’s journey proved that even when you’re not sure where you’re going, you can still pick things up along the way that will help you get to where you belong.