ESPN – Data Driven Sports Coverage

Using data to tell news means using numbers to predict the future or support a hypothesis. ESPN does this every week during football season with their fantasy football projections.

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As you can see in this example, they use Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback Sam Bradford’s performance from last year to predict how he will perform this year. Each week on ESPN’s TV channel, they also do a “Who To Sit, Who to Start” section in their programming and use the context of injuries and opponent performance to tell Fantasy Football players who to bench in their lineup and who to start.

Also on their site, they offer a more in-depth week-to-week projection. An important piece of information they include in their projections is how the opponent’s team is ranked. For week 10, New Orleans Saints Quarterback Drew Brees is playing the Washington Redskins in Washington D.C., and ESPN has highlighted them in red to indicate they are a good team – they are ranked 14 out of 32.

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Sports statistics are often spouted by avid sports fans, and I know I always dread hearing decimals and abbreviations. However, these statistics help predict how someone will perform, similar to how doppler radar and almanacs help predict the weather. ESPN’s layout of data is easy to read, especially because one can hover over the abbreviations at the top for a quick explanation as to what it is.

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