sports

22 posts
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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The Bumps come to the NBA, courtesy of 538

The team at 538 did a post-mortem of their in-season forecasts of NBA playoffs, using Bumps charts. These charts have a long history and can be traced back to Cambridge rowing. I featured them in these posts from a long time ago (link 1, link 2).  Here is the Bumps chart for the NBA West Conference showing all 15 teams, and their ranking by the 538 model throughout the season. ...

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Experience a soccer game through crowd noise

Sports visualization and analysis tends to focus on gameplay — where the players are, where the ball goes, etc. In Reimagine the Game, the focus in on crowd noise through the course of a game. Pick a game and see the waves of noise oscillate through the arena during significant events. It’s an advertisement feature on The Economist, which is kind of interesting, but it’s still fun to watch the...

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Expected versus actual goals in the World Cup

Benjamin Pavard from France made a low-probability goal the other day. Seth Blanchard and Reuben Fischer-Baum for The Washington Post explain the rarity and use it as a segue into expected versus actual goals to gauge how teams have played. This statistic can also tell us which teams are over and under-producing given their level of play so far, by comparing their expected goals and actual results. Surprise quarterfinalist Russia...

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Beauty is in the eyes of the fishes

Reader Patrick S. sent in this old gem from Germany. He said: It displays the change in numbers of visitors to public pools in the German city of Hanover. The invisible y-axis seems to be, um, nonlinear, but at least it's monotonic, in contrast to the invisible x-axis. There's a nice touch, though: The eyes of the fish are pie charts. Black: outdoor pools, white: indoor pools (as explained in...

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Umpire strike zone changes to finish game earlier

When watching baseball on television, we get the benefit of seeing whether a pitch entered the strike zone or not. Umpires go by eye, and intentional or not, they tend towards finishing a game over extra innings. Michael Lopez, Brian Mills, and Gus Wezerek for FiveThirtyEight: The left panel shows the comparative rate of strike calls when, in the bottom of an inning in extras, the batting team is positioned...

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Who’s Competing at Pyeongchang? A Breakdown By Sports, Nations, Genders

More than 2,900 athletes from 92 nations and territories are competing in the Winter Olympics in Pyeongchang, South Korea. The event has 15 different sports (and many events within each). Which sports have the most athletes? Hockey, which requires a 23-person roster, leads the list, followed by largely individual sports, such as alpine and cross-country skiing: Here’s how those sports break down by the number of competing countries. Again, alpine...

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