Are you a sports fan that’s bored with traditional coverage of the world of sports? You have come to the right place. This page will highlight “analytic oriented” information on the sports we all love to watch that you can’t find elsewhere on the web. And you don’t need to Ph.D. in statistics to comprehend what you will find here. From the hallowed grass of Wimbledon to the gridiron of the Iron Bowl, the research you find here will present you with a completely different view of the game, whatever your favorite sport might be.

Most articles are written by Samford University faculty, sports industry professionals that partner with Samford or students in one of the four sports oriented academic programs on campus (sports media in the Journalism and Mass Communications department, sports administration in the department of Kinesiology, sports marketing in the Brock School of Business, and sports medicine in the School of Health Professions).

Photo basketball-player-yelling-SCMGSS3-8355.jpg
The Problem with the Neutral Courts at the NBA Bubble in Orlando
The 2019-20 NBA season was already one of the most entertaining in recent memory. There were many teams competing for the championship and no clear favorite. Now, things are even more interesting, with 22 teams playing in Orlando for the remainder of the season. We wonder if this change of format will be purely cosmetic, or if playing in a neutral court will affect the outcome of this season.
Photo Wofford-Basketball-Win.jpg
Analysis: Which Power 5 College Basketball Conference has the Strongest Home Court Advantage?
Based on data from the last seven college basketball seasons, we determine the home court advantage for every college basketball team in the Power Five conferences (SEC, ACC, Big 12, Big 10, PAC 12). We found significant differences between the conferences which is important in light of how the NCAA seeds the March Madness tournament leading to the Final Four. These results are also important for Bracketology calculations.
Photo baseball-caps.jpg
Using Data to Determine Baseball’s Most Disappointing Teams
At the end of the 2019 season, Major League Baseball crowned the Washington Nationals its best team. Few baseball fans believed the team would end the season on top of the baseball world – some called the National’s victory the biggest surprise in World Series history. Nationals fans were historic underdogs, but the Astros’ base felt the flip side of that surprise: disappointment. This article analyzes predictions and outcomes to determine the most disappointing teams and seasons in baseball.
 
Photo Eagles-win-Super-Bowl.jpg
The Future of NFL Data Analytics
The NFL data analytics revolution is just beginning as teams are realizing the dramatic effect analytics has on team success. There are many questions that need answering regarding the future of the NFL analytics. This article examines the history of analytics in the NFL and discovers schematic trends that are already forming throughout the league. Data analytics has the ability to revolutionize the NFL as we know it, it’s just a matter of time.
Photo League-of-Legends-Logo.jpg
Esports Win Probability: A Role Specific Look into League of Legends
As millions of dollars are invested into League of Legends (LoL), teams are looking for ways to gain a competitive advantage. Recent advancements in analytics software and data warehousing have led to teams producing win probability models in many traditional sports, and these advancements have been utilized on a team-wide scale in many Esports. This research explores the method of formulating a role-based win probability model in the professional League of Legends sphere by using econometric regression techniques. The results show that much of the variation in wins are based on the player's specific role, meaning that all roles in the game at a professional level have similar game impacts.
Photo Giannis-Antetokounmpo.jpg
Which Metrics Best Predicted NBA Success Last Season?
Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks took the 2019 NBA season by storm. After a subpar 2018 season, where they won 44 games and barely made the playoffs, the Bucks managed to finish the 2019 regular season with 60 wins and clinch the 1-seed in the Eastern Conference. How did they find such success? How can other teams mimic their success? To answer this question, I ran multiple regressions to see which single statistic was paramount to success in the NBA and here’s what I found.
 
Photo Samford-Baseball-Field-Rainbow.jpg
Fields of Dreams: Geospatial Characteristics and Baseball Success (Part 2)
What factors lead to success in baseball? This article examines the relationship between geospatial and physical characteristics in relation to a player’s odds of playing professionally.
Photo Samford-Baseball-Field-Rainbow.jpg
Fields of Dreams: Geospatial Characteristics and Baseball Success (Part I)
What environmental factors lead to success in baseball? This article examines the relationship between geospatial characteristics and success in the baseball hierarchy.
Photo griffin-baseball-field.jpg
Does Social Media Engagement Help Teams Improve Attendance?
Ticket sales continue to be a primary source of revenue for professional sports teams. Winning is a positive and expected contributor to increasing attendance, but what other ways can teams use technology and digital activity to engage fans and boost attendance? This research explores the relations between changing social media engagement activity and home attendance at MLB ballparks over a nine-year period.
 
Photo Pitch-Logic-App-Phone-and-Baseball.png
Validating pitchLogic: Assessing the New “Smart” Baseball
With technology advancing at a dizzying rate, an increasing number of products are hitting the market to assist in data-driven player development for all sports, especially baseball. This article summarizes a validation effort of the pitchLogic “smart” baseball relative to several widely-accepted, industry-standard products used for pitching analysis and evaluation.
Photo Lebron-Art.jpg
Athlete Branding: Does Social Media Presence Impact NBA Players’ On-Court Salaries?
An NBA players brand presence has historically been essential in athlete’s ability to land big-name, lucrative endorsements; but does brand presence impact on-court, team salaries? In theory, NBA teams could use big name players, even if they are not the best athletically, to increase revenue and valuation the same way companies do. This article examines this dynamic through analyzing whether brand presence affects the on-court salaries players earn, while controlling for key fixed effects. Our results show that social media following, a key manifestation of brand presence, has a significant impact on players on-court salaries.
Photo Sixers-Basketball-Dunk.jpg
Tanking: The NBA's Pressing Issue
“Tanking” is viewed as the scourge of the NBA today. It ruins the purity of the game, making fans more and more uninterested. Simply put, “tanking” in the NBA is when a franchise does less than everything it can to win. One of the most notable tank jobs in NBA history was accomplished by the Philadelphia 76ers. Aside from ruining the brand of the NBA, tanking could also ruin the NBA from a financial standpoint. The league has done a great job of limiting the effectiveness of tanking, but until drastic measures are taken, this “strategy” will continue to raise issues for the NBA community.
 
Photo BJUpton.jpg
Devising Better Training Routines for Outfielders
With all the data available right now, people with all different relationships to sports, from coaches to fans, and everything in between, can understand the game better. Here’s what baseball players need to know about new outfielder jump data, and how they can use it to improve.
Photo JasonBartlett.jpg
A New Metric for Measuring MLB Outfielder Defensive Potential
With all the data available right now, people with all different relationships to sports, from coaches to fans, and everything in between, can understand the game better. Here’s what MLB front offices could do with new outfielder jump data to build their teams smarter.
Photo man-holding-nba-basketball.jpg
The Growth of International Players in the NBA
For the 2019-2020 season, the NBA has reported that 108 international players from 38 countries and territories are on NBA teams for opening-night. This will be the sixth year that there are at least 100 international players in the league. There are so many talented players from across the world coming into this league that in the 2018-2019 season 4 out of the 5 player awards were received by an international player.
 
Photo Soccer-Ball-on-Grassy-Field.jpg
How Analytics is Changing the Game for Sports – and Academia
Big data has given rise to new opportunities, both in academia and business. This new field of study is remarkable in two ways. First, it is a brand-new field of study, developed specifically to help sports organizations drive team efficiencies and increase revenue. Second, the students are using Big Data and a suite of tools to deliver actionable insights to real sports organizations. It’s not academic to them, it’s real.
Photo Bulldog-Silhouette.svg
Who are XFL Fans ? A Deep Dive into the Social Media Data of Followers of the XFL
Students and faculty in the Center for Sports Analytics utilized the Affinio platform, an augmented analytics platform that surfaces deep consumer insights within social media data sets, to develop various metrics from the social media data of 166,407 XFL fans including favorite brands, entertainers, sports teams, etc.
Photo NBA-Draft.jpg
Entering the NBA Draft: What Factors Dictate Career Earnings for Top Prospects?
The NBA’s growth in popularity has brought massive media deals, sponsorship agreements and progressively more lucrative contracts for stars, developing prospects and role players alike. Because of this, roster spots are becoming more competitive than ever before, putting an increased weight on the NBA draft – the main means for top basketball prospects to enter the league. This analysis explores how much career earning potential rests on the NBA draft. Our results show that being picked in the lottery, draft position, draft age, and years in college all have strong impacts on career earnings.
 
 

More Posts