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Federations & Rights Holders, Publishers

Introducing Objectivity Into Sporting Comparisons

Fans are allowed to let team bias lead their opinion, but publishers need to push for more objective analysis. With Power Rankings, making comparisons is now driven by fact rather than feeling.

By: Mike Morrison

Sport is a pastime built for making comparisons; my team is better than your team, Ronaldo has achieved more than Messi, this team deserved it more than that team, the list goes on. The challenge when it comes to making comparisons is that sport is also a pastime built for subjectivity. Fan sentiment is driven by bias about their favourite team or player and whilst that subjectivity isn’t a problem between fans and friends but as publishers of content, our opinions have to be grounded in fact.

Power Rankings is a new model produced by Stats Perform that uses AI capabilities to bring objectivity into team comparisons – bringing an objective comparison of how teams match up both domestic and globally.
The rankings work by taking in a mixture of the team’s most recent results, considering their opponents and the strength of their overall competition. What you get from it is a truly global picture of which teams are excelling based at any point in a season.

This adds a new layer of context which can be used to engage fans in a multitude of ways.

Tapping Into Transfer Storylines

Transfers are big stories. Taking a look at UK search volumes for Cristiano Ronaldo in the build-up to his return to Manchester United is a good indicator of that.

Source: Google Trends

It’s clear that the appetite for content from fans is there. That said, finding new narratives in a transfer story in order to differentiate your coverage can be a challenge. With Power Rankings, you can set up a whole new angle; Has he made a move to a bigger club? Will he need to step up his game? Will the players around him be better?

Adding Context To Major Cup Draws
Cup draws pull in a lot of attention as fans wait to see who their team is up against. That said, the build-up coverage is often limited and post-draw reaction consists primarily of pundits having their say on which teams had the easiest draw, who is in the group of death and so on. Power Rankings effectively eliminates a lot of this subjectivity by using each team’s performance to illustrate the respective teams in each group.

Covering A So-Called Giant Killing

Nothing gets fans talking quite as much as an upset. When seven-time UEFA Champions League winners Real Madrid faced up against Moldova’s Sheriff Tiraspol in this season’s group stage, few expected anything other than a Real Madrid win. Sheriff went on to take the game with an 89th minute winner and the reaction from fans across the globe responded accordingly. The achievement seemed massive but by using Power Rankings, The Analyst was able to put some context to just how big a feat that victory was.

Source: The Analyst

Real Madrid sits third in the global Power Rankings with a score of 97.00 whereas Sheriff is 231 places behind them with a more humble score of 72.93. By adding an objective measurement to the comparison, we’re able to move the review from anecdotal opinion to objective analysis.

Highlighting Changes Across The Season

Power Rankings continue to change as the team’s performance changes over the season, providing daily insight into the contrasting and continually unfolding fortunes of teams at different stages of the season. This can be a powerful tool when there are key changes in a season. Say a team brings in a new manager, a young striker is promoted into the first-team or a shift in formation appears to have brought a new style. How has this affected the team’s Power Ranking? Have they moved up or down?

Source: The Analyst

At their core Power Rankings allow you to do three things; help you to differentiate your content in a competitive landscape, give you credibility through accurate analysis and add a level of objectivity which wasn’t possible before. To find out more about Power Rankings and how you can use them to engage sports fans get in touch.