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“Win at Home and Draw Away”: Automatic Formation Analysis Highlighting the Differences in Home and Away Team Behaviors

July 28, 2014 Comments off

“Win at Home and Draw Away”: Automatic Formation Analysis Highlighting the Differences in Home and Away Team Behaviors (PDF)
Source: MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

In terms of analyzing soccer matches, two of the most important factors to consider are: 1) the formation the team played (e.g., 4 – 4 – 2, 4 – 2 – 3 – 1 , 3 – 5 – 2 etc. ), and 2) the manner in which they executed it (e.g., conservative – sitting deep, or aggressive – pressing high). Despite the existence of ball and player tracking data, no current methods exist which can automatically detect and visualize formations. Using an entire sea son of Prozone data which consists of ball and player tracking information from a recent top – tier prof essional league, we showcase an automatic formation detection method by investigating the “home advantage”. In a paper we published recently, using an ent ire season of ball tracking data we showed that home teams had significantly more possession in the forward – third which correlated with more shots and goals while the shooting and passing proficiencies were the same. Using our automatic formation analysis, we extend t his analysis and show that while teams tend to play the same formation at home as they do away, the manner in which they execute the formation is significantly different. Specifically, we show that the position of the formation of teams at home is significantly higher up the field compared to when they play away. This conservative approach at away games suggests that coaches aim to win their home games and draw their away games. Additionally, we also show that our method can visually summarize a game which gives an indication of dominance and tactics. While enabling new discoveries of team behavior which can enhance analysis, it is also worth mentioning that our automatic formation detection method is the first to be developed.

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FIFA — Laws of the Game 2014/2015

July 17, 2014 Comments off

Laws of the Game 2014/2015 (PDF)
Source: FIFA

Authorised by the International Football Association Board This booklet may not be reproduced or translated in whole or in part in any manner without the permission of FIFA. Published by Fédération Internationale de Football Association, FIFA-Strasse 20, 8044 Zurich, Switzerland

Modifications

Subject to the agreement of the member association concerned and provided the principles of these Laws are maintained, the Laws may be modified in their application for matches for players of under 16 years of age, for women footballers, for veteran footballers (over 35 years of age) and for players with disabilities. Any or all of the following modifi cations are permissible:
• size of the field of play
• size, weight and material of the ball
• width between the goalposts and height of the crossbar from the ground
• duration of the periods of play
• substitutions

Further modifications are only allowed with the consent of the International Football Association Board.

Categories: FIFA, professional sports

For More Than a Decade, The NY Yankees Have Been America’s Favorite Baseball Team; New Instant Replay rule considered good for baseball

July 16, 2014 Comments off

For More Than a Decade, The NY Yankees Have Been America’s Favorite Baseball Team; New Instant Replay rule considered good for baseball (PDF)
Source: Harris Interactive

The mid-point of the baseball season is now upon us as Major League Baseball pauses to celebrate their all stars. Those not playing in the All Star Game get a few days off to rest before the race to the end of the summer and post-season play begins in earnest. This means it is also time to see who America’s Favorite Baseball Team is this year.

Among those who follow the sport, the New York Yankees again win the honor of being “America’s Favorite,” as they have each year since 2003. In the second spot on the list again are their long time arch-rivals, the Boston Red Sox. Moving up seven spots, from ten to three are the San Francisco Giants. Rounding out the top five are the Chicago Cubs at number four (rising 3 spots from last time) and, at number five, the Atlanta Braves, dropping two spots from number three last year.

These are some of the results of The Harris Poll® of 2,241 adults, of whom 763 follow Major League Baseball, surveyed online between June 4 and 16, 2014.

Looking at the bottom half of the top ten favorite teams, tied for number six are the Los Angeles Dodgers (down from number 4 last year) and the Detroit Tigers (down from a tie for number 5), followed by the Milwaukee Brewers (#8, up from a 21st place tie), the Minnesota Twins (#9, up from a tie for #13) and in a tie for tenth, the Kansas City Royals (up from a tie for #19) and the St. Louis Cardinals (up from a tie for #11).

Who is going to win it all… and who don’t people want there
When it comes to the World Series, a repeat is not expected to be in the works as almost one in five baseball followers (17%) say the San Francisco Giants will win the Fall Classic this October, followed by the New York Yankees (13%), the Detroit Tigers (9%), the Oakland Athletics (8%), and the Los Angeles Dodgers (7%). Less than one in ten baseball followers (6%) say the Boston Red Sox will win again.

And, where there is the team people think will win, there is also the team fans don’t want to see in the World Series. Two in five baseball followers (40%) say the New York Yankees are the one team they least want to see make it to the World Series. At a distant second, 14% say this about the Boston Red Sox, while 6% say this about the Los Angeles Dodgers and 4% do not want to see the Chicago Cubs in the World Series.

Twitter as Social Sensor: Dynamics and Structure in Major Sporting Events

July 11, 2014 Comments off

Twitter as Social Sensor: Dynamics and Structure in Major Sporting Events
Source: MIT

Twitter often behaves like a “social sensor” in which users actively sense real-world events and spontaneously mention these events in cyberspace. Here, we study the temporal dynamics and structural properties of Twitter as a social sensor in major sporting events. By examining Japanese professional baseball games, we found that Twitter as a social sensor can immediately show reactions to positive and negative events by a burst of tweets, but only positive events induce a burst of retweets to follow. In addition, retweet networks during the baseball games exhibit clear polarization in user clusters depending on baseball teams, as well as a scale-free in-degree distribution. These empirical findings provide mechanistic insights into the emergence and evolution of social sensors.

Hat tip: Research Buzz

Simulation in Sport Finance

July 2, 2014 Comments off

Simulation in Sport Finance
Source: Social Science Research Network

Simulations have long been used in business schools to give students experience making real-world decisions in a relatively low risk environment. The OAKLAND A’S BASEBALL BUSINESS SIMULATOR takes a traditional business simulation and applies it to the sport industry, in which sales of tangible products are replaced by sales of experiences provided to fans. The simulator asks students to make decisions about prices for concessions, parking, and merchandise; player payroll expenses; funding for a new stadium; and more. On the basis of these inputs, the program provides detailed information about the state of the franchise after each simulated year, including attendance, winning percentage, revenues versus expenses, revenue sharing, and stadium financing. The use of simulations such as this one enhances students’ organizational skills and students’ ability to think critically and imaginatively about the data while applying relevant knowledge and an appropriate strategy to achieve the best possible results. This is particularly important in the field of sport management, in which few, if any, other simulators exist that are specific to the field.

EU — Annual Review of Football Finance 2014 – A premium blend

June 23, 2014 Comments off

Annual Review of Football Finance 2014 – A premium blend
Source: Deloitte

The Deloitte Sports Business Group is proud to launch the 23rd edition of the Annual Review of Football Finance. Our Annual Review includes analysis of the business drivers and financial trends for clubs in some of the top divisions in European football and in the top four divisions of English football, with a particular focus on Premier League and Championship clubs.

FIFA World Cup, Combined Populations of 2014 Participants and Past Champions

June 20, 2014 Comments off

FIFA World Cup, Combined Populations of 2014 Participants and Past Champions
Source: U.S. Census Bureau

A new graphic using statistics from the U.S. Census Bureau’s International Data Base shows the populations of the 32 participating countries in this year’s FIFA World Cup and past champions. The combined population of this year’s participating countries is 1.9 billion.

cb14-tps.47_worldcup_graphic

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board order — Washington Redskins case

June 19, 2014 Comments off

Trademark Trial and Appeal Board order — Washington Redskins case
Source: U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Petitioners, five Native Americans, have brought this cancellation proceeding pursuant to Section 14 of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1064(c). They seek to cancel respondent’s registrations issued between 1967 and 1990 for trademarks consisting in whole or in part of the term REDSKINS for professional football-related services on the ground that the registrations were obtained contrary to Section 2(a), 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a), which prohibits registration of marks that may disparage persons or bring them into contempt or disrepute. In its answer, defendant, Pro-Football, Inc., asserted various affirmative defenses including laches.

As explained below, we decide, based on the evidence properly before us, that these registrations must be cancelled because they were disparaging to Native Americans at the respective times they were registered, in violation of Section 2(a) of the Trademark Act of 1946, 15 U.S.C. § 1052(a). This decision concerns only the statutory right to registration under Section 2(a). We lack statutory authority to issue rulings concerning the right to use trademarks. See, e.g., In re Franklin Press, Inc., 597 F.2d 270, 201 USPQ 662, 664 (CCPA 1979).

+ All relevant documents

Major League Baseball and World War II: Protecting The Monopoly by Selling Major League Baseball as Patriotic

June 16, 2014 Comments off

Major League Baseball and World War II: Protecting The Monopoly by Selling Major League Baseball as Patriotic
Source: University of New Orleans (thesis – Stephen)

The Green Light letter from President Franklin Roosevelt to Major League Baseball Commissioner Kenesaw Mountain Landis gave MLB permission to continue throughout World War II. The team owners felt relief that MLB is the only professional sport to survive during the years of World War II (1941-1945). MLB became a primary contributor toward the war effort. While war-supporting efforts were conducted, team owners positioned themselves to benefit from the bond between baseball and the American people. MLB portrayed itself through the commissioner’s office policy as a patriotic partner by providing entertainment for American factory workers and contributing equipment to servicemen overseas. MLB also remained a monopoly without Congressional inquiries or public challenge. Since MLB was exempt from anti-trust laws, team owners operated within MLB’s anti-trust exemption and strengthened position for the post war period.

Beautiful Game: Soccer in the U.S. Could Be a Win for Advertisers and Programmers Alike

June 12, 2014 Comments off

Beautiful Game: Soccer in the U.S. Could Be a Win for Advertisers and Programmers Alike
Source: Nielsen

Long considered an up-and-coming sport to both watch and play, the popularity of soccer has been growing steadily since the rise of the soccer mom. In fact, advertisers and programmers looking for a unique opportunity to connect with fans outside well-established American sports, such as football or basketball, take note: the World Cup could be that space. After all, the sport’s fans are dedicated to the teams they root for, avid spenders and quite social when it comes to digital dialogue. Soccer’s fans are also a pretty diverse lot, which isn’t surprising considering it’s the preeminent sport throughout much of the world.

“While the World Cup only comes around every four years, and soccer—with two non-interrupted halves—has less space for traditional TV spots, the heavy branding on both stadium signage and player kits seems to resonate with fans,” said Stephen Master, senior vice president sports, Nielsen.

In fact, a recent survey by The Harris Poll^ found that nearly two-thirds (62%) of people who follow soccer, or fútbol, say they take notice of the companies that support their favorite teams and players.

What’s more, these fans are also avid consumers when it comes to team pride and showing their support!

The poll found that 58 percent of Americans who follow soccer already own merchandise supporting a favorite player, team or league, and over half of this same group (54%) say that they think wearing apparel to support their fandom is an important part of the watching the World Cup. Better still, many of these fans anticipate cracking open their wallets. Nearly half (45%) of soccer fans said they plan on purchasing merchandise in support of their favorite player, team or league.

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup

June 6, 2014 Comments off

Brazilian Discontent Ahead of World Cup
Source: Pew Research Global Attitudes Project

The national mood in Brazil is grim, following a year in which more than a million people have taken to the streets of major cities across the country to protest corruption, rising inflation and a lack of government investment in public services such as education, health care and public transportation, among other things. A new survey by the Pew Research Center finds that 72% of Brazilians are dissatisfied with the way things are going in their country, up from 55% just weeks before the demonstrations began in June 2013.

Opinions about the national economy have changed even more dramatically over this one-year period. Two-thirds now say Brazil’s once-booming economy is in bad shape, while just 32% say the economy is good. In 2013, the balance of opinion was reversed: a 59%-majority thought the country was in good shape economically, while 41% said the economy was bad. Economic ratings had been consistently positive since 2010, when Pew Research first conducted a nationally-representative survey of Brazil.

Brazilians are also concerned about the impact that hosting the World Cup, which begins June 12, will have on their country. About six-in-ten (61%) think hosting the event is a bad thing for Brazil because it takes money away from schools, health care and other public services — a common theme in the protests that have swept the country since June 2013. Just 34% think the World Cup, which Brazil will host for the first time since 1950 and which could attract more than 3.5 million people to the nation’s twelve host cities, will create more jobs and help the economy.

Profiting from Machine Learning in the NBA Draft

June 3, 2014 Comments off

Profiting from Machine Learning in the NBA Draft
Source: Social Science Research Network

I project historical NCAA college basketball performance to subsequent NBA performance for prospects using modern machine learning techniques without snooping bias. I find that the projections would have helped improve the drafting decisions of virtually every team: over the past ten years, teams forfeited an average of about $90,000,000 in lost productivity that could have been theirs had they followed the recommendations of the model. I provide team-by-team breakdowns of who should have been drafted instead, as well as team summaries of lost profit, and draft order comparison. Far from being just another input in making decisions, when used properly, advanced draft analytics can effectively be an additional revenue source in a team’s business model.

Family Ties: A Compilation of Baseball’s Relatives — 2014 Season

May 7, 2014 Comments off

Family Ties: A Compilation of Baseball’s Relatives — 2014 Season (PDF)
Source: MLBLogs Network: Baseball’s Relatives

Who’s included in the list
• 2014 players on MLB 40 – Man Rosters who have a relative currently or formerly in professional baseball, or was drafted by an MLB organization
• 2014 managers and coaches on MLB teams who have a relative currently or formerly in professional baseball , or was drafted by an MLB organization
• 2014 minor League players with a relative currently or formerly in the major leagues

Who’s not included in the list
• Former major League players, coaches, managers whose baseball relatives are not currently active in professional baseball
• Current m inor League players, coaches, and managers whose baseball relatives have only played in the minor l eagues , or were only drafted
• Current and former major leaguers whose relatives have only played college baseball

Deloitte Football Money League 2014

April 8, 2014 Comments off

Deloitte Football Money League 2014
Source: Deloitte

Welcome to the 17th edition of the Deloitte Football Money League, in which we profile the highest earning clubs in the world’s most popular sport. Published just eight months after the end of the 2012/13 season, the Money League is the most contemporary and reliable analysis of the clubs’ relative financial performance.

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014

April 3, 2014 Comments off

MLB Fan Cost Index® 2014
Source: Team Marketing Report

The average Major League Baseball season ticket has increased by 2.0 percent to $27.93 for the 2014 season, according to the Team Marketing Report Fan Cost Index®.

This minor increase is part of a trend; last season, the average MLB ticket increased by 1.8 percent.

The year before that, there was no percentage increase. In 2010-11, tickets rose by a combined 2.7 percent. The Fan Cost Index (FCI) total, the average price to take a family of four to a game, increased by 2.3 percent to $212.46. The FCI is created by combining four non-premium season tickets, two beers, four soft drinks, four hot dogs, parking, two programs or scorecards, and two adult-size hats.

TMR uses season ticket pricing and the lowest full-size prices for the ancillary items, so if a team has an $8 beer and a $6 beer, TMR uses the latter to show how much, or how little, one can spend at a game.

What Does it Take to Call a Strike? Three Biases in Umpire Decision Making

March 14, 2014 Comments off

What Does it Take to Call a Strike?  Three Biases in Umpire Decision Making (PDF)
Source: MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

Do Major League Baseball umpires call balls and strikes solely in response to pitch location? We analyze all regular season calls from 2009 to 2011—over one million pitches—using non-parametric and structural estimation methods. We find that the strike zone contracts in 2-strike counts and expands in 3-ball counts, and that umpires are reluctant to call two strikes in a row. Effect sizes can be dramatic: in 2-strike counts the probability of a called strike drops by as much as 19 percentage points in the corners of the strike zone. We structurally estimate each umpire’s aversions to miscalling balls and his aversions to miscalling strikes in different game states. If an umpire is unbiased, he would only need to be 50% sure that a pitch is a strike in order to call a strike half the time. In fact, the average umpire needs to be 64% sure of a strike in order to call strike three half the time. Moreover, the least biased umpire still needs to be 55% sure of a strike in order to call strike three half the time. In other words, every umpire is biased. Contrary to their formal role as unbiased arbiters of balls and strikes, umpires are biased by the state of the at-bat when deciding whether a pitch intersects the strike zone.

Tossing the Red Flag: Official (Judicial) Review and Shareholder-Fan Activism in the Context of Publicly Traded Sports Teams

March 3, 2014 Comments off

Tossing the Red Flag: Official (Judicial) Review and Shareholder-Fan Activism in the Context of Publicly Traded Sports Teams
Source: University of Washington Law Review

For some, it comes after their team squanders away a fourth quarter lead in the playoffs, engages in a hasty trade, or makes an ill-advised substitution. For others, an indefensible draft choice, announcement of team relocation, or decision not to re-sign a star player triggers the thought. Whether at a sports bar or on their own living room couch, at one time or another, every sports fan has transported him or herself to the owner’s box and imagined, “If I ran that team, things would be different.” In the face of numerous professional sports team bankruptcies and league lockouts in the last fifteen years, as well as the current economic client, all professional franchises should be reevaluating their ownership structures and investigating new sources of revenue. Although the notion of a publicly owned and traded sports team is not a new business revelation, current economic conditions have reactivated largely dormant discussions of the opportunity. While the decisions posed throughout this analysis are ultimately left to current sports team ownership, this Note is meant to serve as a thought experiment to provoke questions and to spark discussion regarding the viability of a public model of sports team ownership.

New rule on home-plate collisions put into effect; Regulation to reduce injuries on scoring plays to be on experimental basis in 2014

February 24, 2014 Comments off

New rule on home-plate collisions put into effect; Regulation to reduce injuries on scoring plays to be on experimental basis in 2014
Source: Major League Baseball

Major League Baseball and the Major League Baseball Players Association announced Monday the addition of Rule 7.13, covering collisions at home plate, on an experimental basis for the 2014 season.

In 2014, the rule being implemented by MLB and the MLBPA will prohibit the most egregious collisions at home plate.

Ted Wells releases Miami Dolphins misconduct report

February 15, 2014 Comments off

Ted Wells releases Miami Dolphins misconduct report
Source: National Football League

Three starters on the Miami Dolphins’ offensive line — Richie Incognito, John Jerry and Mike Pouncey — engaged in a “pattern of harassment” directed at Jonathan Martin, as well as another young offensive lineman and an assistant trainer, according to the independent report released Friday concerning workplace misconduct with the team.

Survey | More than One-in-Five Fans have a Ritual Before or During Sports Games

January 23, 2014 Comments off

More than One-in-Five Fans have a Ritual Before or During Sports Games
Source: Public Religion Research Institute

Just ahead of the 2014 Super Bowl, half of sports fans see some aspect of the supernatural at play in sports, meaning they either pray to God to help their team, have thought their team was cursed at some point in time, or believe that God plays a role in determining the outcome of sporting events.

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