Discussion:
wondering about... sports stats software
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Questor
2017-04-17 15:55:04 UTC
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Anybody know anything about the software sports announcers use for statistics?

No matter what the play, sports announcers are johnny-on-the-spot with the
number of times the left defensive racket has rolled the discus over the
mid-field trapazoid in the fifth interval during a home game, sliced and diced
by season, coach, and team caterer.

I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their own ad
hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there commercial
packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that tracks sports
statistics, or do different organizations collect their own data? How much of
the data and reporting software is available to the public at large?

I'm not a sports fan. I know that, particularly in baseball, the "stats" and
knowing them are an important part of fandom for many, and obviously sports
commentators are going to be particularly enthusiastic about the sport they
cover. But they just can't know *all* those facts that they work into the
running commentary during sporting events. I'm curious about the process and
the software used.
Tim Wright
2017-04-17 16:07:36 UTC
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Post by Questor
Anybody know anything about the software sports announcers use for statistics?
No matter what the play, sports announcers are johnny-on-the-spot with the
number of times the left defensive racket has rolled the discus over the
mid-field trapazoid in the fifth interval during a home game, sliced and diced
by season, coach, and team caterer.
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their own ad
hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there commercial
packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that tracks sports
statistics, or do different organizations collect their own data? How much of
the data and reporting software is available to the public at large?
I'm not a sports fan. I know that, particularly in baseball, the "stats" and
knowing them are an important part of fandom for many, and obviously sports
commentators are going to be particularly enthusiastic about the sport they
cover. But they just can't know *all* those facts that they work into the
running commentary during sporting events. I'm curious about the process and
the software used.
I always figured they had a staff to take care of most of that research.
--
The pollen has been so bad the meth heads are turning their crystal back
into Sudafed.

Tim W
Les Albert
2017-04-17 16:14:19 UTC
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Post by Questor
Anybody know anything about the software sports announcers use for statistics?
No matter what the play, sports announcers are johnny-on-the-spot with the
number of times the left defensive racket has rolled the discus over the
mid-field trapazoid in the fifth interval during a home game, sliced and diced
by season, coach, and team caterer.
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their own ad
hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there commercial
packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that tracks sports
statistics, or do different organizations collect their own data? How much of
the data and reporting software is available to the public at large?
I'm not a sports fan. I know that, particularly in baseball, the "stats" and
knowing them are an important part of fandom for many, and obviously sports
commentators are going to be particularly enthusiastic about the sport they
cover. But they just can't know *all* those facts that they work into the
running commentary during sporting events. I'm curious about the process and
the software used.
Here is one of the software programs they use:
http://www.broadcastersedge.com/

Les
bill van
2017-04-17 18:10:00 UTC
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Post by Tim Wright
Post by Questor
Anybody know anything about the software sports announcers use for statistics?
No matter what the play, sports announcers are johnny-on-the-spot with the
number of times the left defensive racket has rolled the discus over the
mid-field trapazoid in the fifth interval during a home game, sliced and diced
by season, coach, and team caterer.
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their own ad
hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there commercial
packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that tracks sports
statistics, or do different organizations collect their own data? How much of
the data and reporting software is available to the public at large?
I'm not a sports fan. I know that, particularly in baseball, the "stats" and
knowing them are an important part of fandom for many, and obviously sports
commentators are going to be particularly enthusiastic about the sport they
cover. But they just can't know *all* those facts that they work into the
running commentary during sporting events. I'm curious about the process and
the software used.
I always figured they had a staff to take care of most of that research.
I suspect it's as simple as one or two researchers who have boned up on
baseball stats and trivia and have access to relevant websites sending
messages that appear on the broadcasters' computer screens. Any number
of technologies could do that.

There are several new statistical categories in recent years that are
bandied about by the commentators. Unfortunately the on-air people refer
to them by their initialisms and never stop to explain what they mean.
Sometimes I can figure it out, often not. By the time I get to my
computer, I have always forgotten what I wanted to look up.
--
bill
Howard
2017-04-17 20:08:48 UTC
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Post by Questor
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their
own ad hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there
commercial packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that
tracks sports statistics, or do different organizations collect their
own data? How much of the data and reporting software is available to
the public at large?
A lot of the big US broadcasters and leagues contract with the Elias
Sports Bureau, and you'll often see brief blurbs mentioning Elias on
broadcasts.

I don't know the specifics of their databases, but they'll often work up
packages of stats tailored for specific games, so the producers can be
aware that if a certain player scores, it will be the 10th time someone
with that last name has scored on this date, or that the home team has
gone 20 games without being shut out, and so on.

This is an old article, but it gives a sense of Elias:

https://nyti.ms/2pupMOR

I know that ESPN will often cite Elias, but they also do a lot of stats
in house as well.
s***@gmail.com
2017-04-20 00:20:15 UTC
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Post by Howard
Post by Questor
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their
own ad hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there
commercial packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that
tracks sports statistics, or do different organizations collect their
own data? How much of the data and reporting software is available to
the public at large?
A lot of the big US broadcasters and leagues contract with the Elias
Sports Bureau, and you'll often see brief blurbs mentioning Elias on
broadcasts.
I don't know the specifics of their databases, but they'll often work up
packages of stats tailored for specific games, so the producers can be
aware that if a certain player scores, it will be the 10th time someone
with that last name has scored on this date, or that the home team has
gone 20 games without being shut out, and so on.
https://nyti.ms/2pupMOR
I know that ESPN will often cite Elias, but they also do a lot of stats
in house as well.
I'm pretty sure I've heard the ESPN radio crew quote Elias
(crew include John Kruk, Dan Shulman, John Sciambi, Chris Singleton
for names I recognize as ones I've heard)

Here's an example of ESPN using Elias on their web site: it's a short note
in the "NOW" column of the MLB Scoreboard page.

<quote>
ESPN Stats and Information

Max Scherzer has had six starts in which he pitched at least seven innings, didn't allow a run and gave up two or fewer hits since joining the Nationals in 2015. Per the Elias Sports Bureau, the only other major league pitchers with six or more starts of that kind over that span are Jake Arrieta (eight) and Jacob deGrom (six). (Jason Getz/USA TODAY Sports)
</quote>

The "NOW" column has tweetish stuff, often from the reporters watching
various games. Jim Caple was apparently in Seattle, watching Ichiro
(RF, Marlins) hitting a home run on his last
at-bat in Seattle (his former team).

<URL:http://www.espn.com/mlb/scoreboard>

/dps
Questor
2017-07-09 06:09:28 UTC
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Post by Howard
Post by Questor
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their
own ad hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there
commercial packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that
tracks sports statistics, or do different organizations collect their
own data? How much of the data and reporting software is available to
the public at large?
A lot of the big US broadcasters and leagues contract with the Elias
Sports Bureau, and you'll often see brief blurbs mentioning Elias on
broadcasts.
I don't know the specifics of their databases, but they'll often work up
packages of stats tailored for specific games, so the producers can be
aware that if a certain player scores, it will be the 10th time someone
with that last name has scored on this date, or that the home team has
gone 20 games without being shut out, and so on.
I can see that such preparation will help with some stats, but not all.

One of my housemates is a hockey fan, so I am incidentally exposed to several
hours of hockey over the course of a season. It's obvious that if a player is
close to some "milestone" number of goals or assists or shutouts, then it's
easy to note when/if they hit the target. But other situations are impossible
to foresee.

During a playoff game this spring, one team scored two short-handed goals. The
announcers were almost immediately able to say when the last time the other team
had two short-handed goals scored against them in the playoffs (over twenty
years earlier), followed shortly by noting the most short-handed goals ever
scored in a playoff game, etc. This doesn't seem to be the kind of statistic
that can easily be anticipated.

Perhaps the announcers do some of the easy prep as mentioned, but I suspect
some stats nerd is on tap, querying a database containing the details of every
professional hockey game, and then feeding the relevant factoids to the talking
heads (via a screen or earpiece) to be worked into their patter.
Post by Howard
https://nyti.ms/2pupMOR
I know that ESPN will often cite Elias, but they also do a lot of stats
in house as well.
Snidely
2017-07-10 06:29:33 UTC
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Post by Questor
Post by Howard
Post by Questor
I assume they use software for this now. Does every network use their
own ad hoc programs, written and tailored for each sport? Are there
commercial packages that do this? Do they subscribe to a service that
tracks sports statistics, or do different organizations collect their
own data? How much of the data and reporting software is available to
the public at large?
A lot of the big US broadcasters and leagues contract with the Elias
Sports Bureau, and you'll often see brief blurbs mentioning Elias on
broadcasts.
I don't know the specifics of their databases, but they'll often work up
packages of stats tailored for specific games, so the producers can be
aware that if a certain player scores, it will be the 10th time someone
with that last name has scored on this date, or that the home team has
gone 20 games without being shut out, and so on.
I can see that such preparation will help with some stats, but not all.
One of my housemates is a hockey fan, so I am incidentally exposed to several
hours of hockey over the course of a season. It's obvious that if a player
is close to some "milestone" number of goals or assists or shutouts, then
it's easy to note when/if they hit the target. But other situations are
impossible to foresee.
During a playoff game this spring, one team scored two short-handed goals.
The announcers were almost immediately able to say when the last time the
other team had two short-handed goals scored against them in the playoffs
(over twenty years earlier), followed shortly by noting the most short-handed
goals ever scored in a playoff game, etc. This doesn't seem to be the kind
of statistic that can easily be anticipated.
Perhaps the announcers do some of the easy prep as mentioned, but I suspect
some stats nerd is on tap, querying a database containing the details of
every professional hockey game, and then feeding the relevant factoids to the
talking heads (via a screen or earpiece) to be worked into their patter.
Post by Howard
https://nyti.ms/2pupMOR
I know that ESPN will often cite Elias, but they also do a lot of stats
in house as well.
ElasticSearch, perhaps. A lot depends on expertise in framing queries,
and the guy sitting just off camera (or off-mike for radio) probably
gets pretty good at it after a while. His laptop is dialed into a
cloud service or "insider's website" somewhere, and if it isn't Elias
it's probably something similar.

Now I'm pretty sure Vin Scully was one of the few who could come up
with a lot of stuff without using a computer; I can imagine him having
a stack of 3x5 cards for the few things he couldn't say from memory.

/dps
--
There's nothing inherently wrong with Big Data. What matters, as it
does for Arnold Lund in California or Richard Rothman in Baltimore, are
the questions -- old and new, good and bad -- this newest tool lets us
ask. (R. Lerhman, CSMonitor.com)
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