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Facts for Features: Super Bowl XLIX: Feb. 1, 2015

January 23, 2015 Comments off

Facts for Features: Super Bowl XLIX: Feb. 1, 2015
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

Super Bowl XLIX will be played Feb. 1 at University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, Ariz. This will be the second time the NFL’s championship game will be held in Glendale and the third time in the Phoenix metropolitan area. To commemorate this event, the Census Bureau has compiled a collection of facts examining the demographics of the host metropolitan area, as well as the metro areas represented by the two participants — the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks.

2014 NHL Sustainability Report

January 5, 2015 Comments off

2014 NHL Sustainability Report
Source: National Hockey League

Perhaps more than any other sport, hockey is impacted by environmental issues, particularly climate change and freshwater scarcity. The ability to skate and play hockey outdoors is a critical component of the League’s history and culture. Many of the NHL’s players, both past and present, learned to skate outside on frozen lakes, ponds and backyard rinks. The game of hockey is adversely affected if this opportunity becomes unavailable to future generations.

With this 2014 NHL SUSTAINABILITY REPORT, the first of its kind for the League, we address head-on the connection between hockey and the environment, and the impact we have on our planet. It is in our best interest to confront this challenge, to be transparent with our impacts and to discuss and explore with all of our stakeholders a strategy for long-term environmental sustainability.

In this report, we put forth our first carbon inventory, which details the greenhouse gas emissions associated with the many facets of our operations, including energy and water use, waste and travel. We acknowledge that NHL hockey games are energy intensive. We also acknowledge that the geographic locations of our Clubs require a substantial amount of travel over the course of a season. Like the other professional sports, these business operations affect the air we breathe and our supplies of clean, fresh water. We are determined to address these environmental challenges without sacrificing the integrity of our game.

While we have made some progress to date, we concede there is still much to do. Our plan for the years ahead, given our unique constrains, is to capture additional data and information related to the impacts of our business and to create meaningful goals to reduce those impacts. It is our objective to raise the level of environmental consciousness among our fans and arena operators, and encourage improvements within our Clubs’ buildings, our operations, employees, partners, vendors, fans and communities.

The National Football League: Does Crime Increase on Game Day?

December 5, 2014 Comments off

The National Football League: Does Crime Increase on Game Day? (PDF)
Source: Journal of Sports Economics

This article investigates the effects of National Football League (NFL) games on crime. Using a panel data set that includes daily crime incidences in eight large cities with NFL teams, we examine how various measurements of criminal activities change on game day compared with nongame days. Our findings from both ordinary least squares and negative binomial regressions indicate that NFL home games are associated with a 2.6% increase in total crimes, while financially motivated crimes such as larceny and motor vehicle theft increase by 4.1% and 6.7%, respectively, on game days. However, we observe that play-off games are associated with a decrease in financially motivated crimes. The effects of game time (afternoon vs. evening) and upset wins and losses on crime are also considered.

FCC — Sports Blackouts (updated October 1, 2014)

October 7, 2014 Comments off

Sports Blackouts
Source: Federal Communications Commission

The Federal Communications Commission repealed its sports blackout rules, which prohibited cable and satellite operators from airing any sports event that was blacked out on a local broadcast station. This action removes Commission protection of the private blackout policies of sports leagues, which require local broadcast stations to black out a game if a team does not sell a certain percentage of tickets by a certain time prior to the game. Elimination of this rule, however, may not end all sports blackouts: sports leagues may choose to continue their private blackout policies through contractual arrangements with programming distributors. For more information read the news release.

A “sports blackout” occurs when a sports event that was scheduled to be televised is not aired in a particular media market. A blackout may prevent transmission of sports programming on local broadcast networks and/or non-broadcast platforms such as cable and satellite television.

Hat tip: PW

CRS — Questions Raised About NFL’s Tax-Exempt Status, Legal Sidebar (September 17, 2014)

September 25, 2014 Comments off

Questions Raised About NFL’s Tax-Exempt Status, Legal Sidebar (PDF)
Source: Congressional Research Service (via Federation of American Scientists)

With all the attention the National Football League (NFL) has received regarding its handling of several high-profile controversies, questions have arisen about the League’s tax status. The NFL is exempt from federal income taxes as an organization described in § 501(c)(6) of the Internal Revenue Code. (Note this applies only to the League—the teams are not tax-exempt).

A Data-driven Method for In-game Decision Making in MLB

August 11, 2014 Comments off

A Data-driven Method for In-game Decision Making in MLB (PDF)
Source: MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

In this paper we show how machine learning can be applied to generate a model that could lead to better on-field decisions by predicting a pitcher’s performance in the next inning. Specifically we show how to use regularized linear regression to learn pitcher-specific predictive models that can be used to estimate whether a starting pitcher will surrender a run if allowed to start the next inning.

For each season we trained on the first 80% of the games, and tested on the rest. The results suggest that using our model would frequently lead to different decisions late in games than those made by major league managers. There is no way to evaluate would have happened when a manager lifted a pitcher that our model would have allowed to continue. From the 5th inning on in close games, for those games in which a manager left a pitcher in that our model would have removed, the pitcher ended up surrendering at least one run in that inning 60% (compared to 43% overall) of the time.

The Three Dimensions of Rebounding

August 8, 2014 Comments off

The Three Dimensions of Rebounding (PDF)
Source: MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

The recent spread of tracking technology in sports is bringing about a new era in analytics where we can deconstruct things we previously understood as one thing. We consider rebounding in basketball. Until recently we would get at most one piece of information after a missed shot: the name of a player that got the rebound. In this paper, we (1) describe the full timeline of a rebound, (2) develop metrics for the various dimensions of this timeline using novel techniques and (3) apply them to calculate individual player abilities in these dimensions.

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