sports

4 posts
R packages useful for sports analytics

If you’re into R and analyzing sports data, you’ll want to save this CRAN task view: This CRAN Task View contains a list of packages useful for sports analytics. Most of the packages are sport-specific and are grouped as such. However, we also include a General section for packages that provide ancillary functionality relevant to sports analytics (e.g., team-themed color palettes), and a Modeling section for packages useful for statistical...

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Calculating win probabilities

Zack Capozzi, for USA Lacrosse Magazine, explains how he calculates win probabilities pre-game and during games. On interpretation, which could easily apply to other sports and all forecasts: But interpretation here matters quite a bit. And this is frustrating for some people, but that 61 percent should be interpreted as: “if these teams played 100 times, we would expect Marquette to win 61 of those games.” It definitely does not...

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Figure skating animated jumps

Figure skater Nathan Chen set a world record with his performance in the short program. The New York Times has these cute animations to show the completed jumps. Just spinning around four times in the air, no big deal. Tags: Nathan Chen, New York Times, Olympics, sports

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Asymmetry and orientation

An author in Significance claims that a single season of Premier League football without live spectators is enough to prove that the so-called home field advantage is really a live-spectator advantage. The following chart depicts the data going back many seasons: I find this bar chart challenging. It plots the ratio of home wins to away wins using an odds scale, which is not intuitive. The odds scale (probability of...

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How sports owners pay less taxes than athletes

ProPublica continues their analysis of an anonymous dump of tax records, this time with a focus on billionaire sports owners: The law favors people who are rich because they own things over people who are rich because they make a high income from their work. Wages — the main source of income for most people, including athletes — are taxed at the highest rates of all, topping out at a...

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Plotting the signal or the noise

Antonio alerted me to the following graphic that appeared in the Economist. This is a playful (?) attempt to draw attention to racism in the game of football (soccer). The analyst proposed that non-white players have played better in stadiums without fans due to Covid19 in 2020 because they have not been distracted by racist abuse from fans, using Italy's Serie A as the case study. The chart struggles to...

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The windy path to the Rugby World Cup

When I first saw the following chart, I wondered whether it is really that challenging for these eight teams to get into the Rugby World Cup, currently playing in Japan: Another visualization of the process conveys a similar message. Both of these are uploaded to Wikipedia. (This one hasn't been updated and still contains blank entries.) *** What are some of the key messages one would want the dataviz to...

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Tennis greats at the top of their game

The following chart of world No. 1 tennis players looks pretty but the payoff of spending time to understand it isn't high enough. The light colors against the tennis net backdrop don't work as intended. The annotation is well done, and it's always neat to tug a legend inside the text. The original is found at Tableau Public (link). The topic of the analysis appears to be the ages at...

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This Wimbledon beauty will be ageless

This Financial Times chart paints the picture of the emerging trend in Wimbledon men’s tennis: the average age of players has been rising, and hits 30 years old for the first time ever in 2019. The chart works brilliantly. Let's look at the design decisions that contributed to its success. The chart contains a good amount of data and the presentation is carefully layered, with the layers nicely tied to...

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Book review: Visualizing Baseball

I requested a copy of Jim Albert’s Visualizing Baseball book, which is part of the ASA-CRC series on Statistical Reasoning in Science and Society that has the explicit goal of reaching a mass audience. The best feature of Albert’s new volume is its brevity. For someone with a decent background in statistics (and grasp of basic baseball jargon), it’s a book that can be consumed within one week, after which...

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