ESPN’s sports analytics group started in 2011 with a project to build better statistics on quarterbacks (Total QBR) and is now made up of a team of eight.
ESPN’s Golden State Warriors 73 infographic — explaining the statistical chances the U.S. National Basketball Association team had to break a record with 73 wins in one season — was one of the site’s most-read articles, with more than three million hits, explained Dr. Benjamin Alamar, the sports media company’s director of sports analytics.
“Somebody on the digital content side saw this analysis that we were doing on a regular basis. They took that piece of data and asked for more,” Alamar explained at INMA’s Big Data for Media Conference in New York City recently. “They created this beautiful infographic.”
It’s all about telling a better story: “It’s not about a number. It’s about what are we learning about the game that we didn’t know before. ...When QBR started, it was a struggle constantly to get people to think about it, and talk about it, and use it. Now, just last year, we launched our MBA Basketball Power Index. The day we launched it, it was on Sports Center that night.”