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 have a 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).

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Affinity Rankings
In the analyses below, we explore differences in indexed affinity between competing brands.
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Drive for Show, Putt for Dough?
How do you maximize practice with minimal time? How much attention should be given to different areas of the game? Should every player practice the same thing?
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Top 10 NBA Finals Performances
I’ve always had a fascination to determine which NBA players had the greatest performances on the game’s biggest stage. That is why I will be looking at the 10 greatest single game performances in NBA finals history.
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Does Controlling the Pace Win NBA Games?
We’ve heard it a million times, “If this team can control the pace, they’re going to win this game!”. Is controlling the pace good for a team’s winning chances? Or is it just a crutch for analysts to talk about?
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Sabermetrics 101: Understanding the Calculation of WAR
WAR, or wins above replacement, is an advanced baseball metric that measures the true value of a player. It is calculated uniquely by statisticians on different statistical websites. This paper attempts to help educate the modern baseball fan on the differences in the fWAR and bWAR calculation.
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Machine Learning Uncovers Nine Distinct Player Types in the NBA
One thing is certain, it's difficult to compare players from different eras when the NBA changes decade after decade.
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Behind the Data: Where is CrossFit Most Popular in the United States?
CrossFit is known for grueling workouts and their free market approach to gym affiliation resulting in strong communities with avid participants.
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The Interesting Connection Between Southwest Airlines and the Super Bowl Champions
There is meaning behind these sponsorships/partnerships, and none happen by accident.
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How I Built a Competitive NFL Prediction Model with Only Five Statistics
The 2022 NFL season officially concluded last Sunday with the Kansas City Chiefs’ 38-35 win over the Philadelphia Eagles, for Patrick Mahomes and the Chiefs’ second Super Bowl win in four years. The game was arguably an all timer as Harrison Butker’s kick with seven seconds put Kansas City on top for good.
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A Look Back: Legendary Performances by Running Backs in Super Bowl History
This article uses ChatGPT responses to explore some of the best Super Bowl performances by running backs in the game’s history.
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A Look Back: Legendary Defensive Performances in Super Bowl History
This article uses ChatGPT responses to explore some of the best defensive Super Bowl performances by team in the game’s history.
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A Look Back: Legendary Quarterback Performances in Super Bowl History
This article uses ChatGPT responses to explore some of the best Super Bowl performances by quarterbacks in the game’s history.
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A Look Back: A Few of the Greatest Super Bowl Performances by Wide Receivers
This article explores a few of the best Super Bowl performances by Wide Receivers in the game’s history.
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Exploring Key Analytic Measurements to Predict the Super Bowl LVII Winner
This article explores 5 key factors that often predict success in the NFL. On paper, the Chiefs and the Eagles are almost evenly matched, but Philadelphia and Kansas City have a large differential in one main factor.
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In the Trenches: Quantifying Performance vs Expectation for NFL Offensive and Defensive Linemen
In this project, we seek to answer the question, 'can we evaluate if a player is performing as expected based on physical metrics and combine testing?' This project aims to give an overall rating to both offensive linemen and pass rushers on pass attempts, then comparing this to how they are expected to perform based on combine metrics, physical traits, and averages from previous in-game play.
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An Interactive Dashboard to Explore 2022 World Cup Data
Explore trends and performance metrics for every player and team at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
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Missed Potential: An Evaluation of Tua Tagovailoa’s Sponsorship Opportunities
One player who is utilizing sponsorships as a prominent source of income is Tua Tagovailoa, former quarterback of The University of Alabama who signed on as a rookie with the Miami Dolphins in 2020.
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Will the Real U.S. Soccer Fans Please Stand Up
The World Cup is the most watched sporting event ever and the US is finally back in it after an 8-year absence. So, what does it really mean to be a USMNT supporter? What is the average age and what brands do supporters enjoy or use?
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A Once Unmovable Object: What happened to Alabama’s Elite Defense?
Minkah Fitzpatrick picked off yet another one of Kyle Allen’s passes and scooted down the sidelines for the team’s third interception returned for a touchdown that day. Moments like this were mere fairytales for the Crimson Tide in 2022.
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Determining the Best College Programs for NFL Success
Since 2000, every college football program has had its ups and downs. But which universities are producing the most successful professional athletes?
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Sponsorship Shank or Hole in One? Assessing Tiger Woods’ partnership with Monster Energy and the sponsorship landscape of the LPGA and PGA Tour
In 2019, sports sponsorships totaled $14.7 billion in the U.S. alone. Statista projects that figure will rise to almost $20 billion by 2024. Corporations see the powerful results of partnering with a sports property and its passionate fans.
Photo Tua Tagovailoa pre snap versus the Auburn, Nov 27, 2018
The Quarterback Effect According to SBRnet
Every April, a handful of quarterbacks are selected in the first round of the NFL Draft, with 12 quarterbacks being selected in the Top 7 over the past four seasons.
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A New Football Quarterback Statistic Tries to Assess What Matters Most
This research was done to try and find a better way to measure the success of a quarterback. It was able to lead to some very intriguing discoveries.
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Sports Brand Affinity Among Universities
If these colors become part of the school and fanbase's identity, are these jersey providers obtaining the same level of affinity that the colors are?
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Die-Hard or Fair-Weather Fans? Ranking All 32 NFL Fan Bases
The National Football League and its fans have experienced a lot in the past five years. Fan bases have grown and shrunk, but the intensity of these groups is what is really worth monitoring. Of the 32 NFL teams, which teams truly have the best fans?
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Do Yellow Cards Impact Chances of Winning in European Pro Soccer? It Depends on Which Country You Play In
How much do fouls affect winning? This is an age-old question in all sports. Should teams play a less physically aggressive style to have a better chance of winning, or should they even consider fouls a factor?
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Predicting World Cup Success
Every four years, the world turns its attention to the World Cup. While familiar legends and new faces take the field, there always seems to be drama that unfolds.
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How does UAB Football bounce back after Coach Clark’s retirement?
On the morning of June 24th, UAB Blazer football fans awoke to news they likely were not expecting to hear for a long time. Bill Clark, undeniably the program’s most successful head coach, had announced that he was retiring due to long-lasting chronic back issues.
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How Possession and Opening Goals can Predict Relegated Teams in the Premier League
The Premier League provides quite the spectacle season in and season out. Aside from the memorable on-field moments, the battle on the table heightens the drama in each and every matchweek.
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Professional Soccer Technical Reports
Technical reports are published by students in the Center for Sports Analytics at the end of the season for various professional soccer leagues in order to analyze how the game is progressing. The reports contain league level analysis as well as an appraisal of each team's performance.
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Sponsorship Slam Dunk or Absolute Air Ball? : A Breakdown of NBA Sponsorship by Social Media Affinity
This article explores which NBA naming rights sponsors are receiving the best/worst return on their investment by analyzing social media affinity through the Zoomph database.
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Statistical Insights: When Should I Cross the Ball in Soccer?
Crossing is one of the most common ways to score a goal in the game of soccer. When a team is attacking and trying to score, when is the right time to put the cross into the box? It may not be as simple as you think.
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Determining Rivals Based on Social Media Activity
Rivalries are a critical aspect of any sport. There is always that one team that you want to beat more than anyone else. Do a team’s fans follow the team they want to beat most on social media so that they can be kept up-to-date on what it is they are doing?
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How Did Ronaldo’s Return to the Premier League Affect Manchester United’s Performance?
In the 2021-22 Premiere League season, Cristiano Ronaldo decided to leave Juventus and come back to Manchester United after leaving them for Real Madrid back in 2009. How did this affect the team? Positively, negatively or did nothing change at all?
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Can Harry Kane become the second All-time scorer of the EPL and surpass Wayne Rooney?
Harry Kane, Tottenham Hotspurs's forward, is, currently, the fifth player with the most goals scored in the Premier League with 181 goals to be exact.
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xG For The Win: Analyzing Expected Goals in the USL
Data and analytics have continued to permeate sports everywhere, and the biggest sport in the world is no exception.
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MLB Winning Percentage Breakdown: Which Statistics Help Teams Win More Games?
Bill James is a world-famous American baseball writer and statistician who is known for his analytical contributions to the game of baseball. One of his largest contributions was the Pythagorean Theorem of Baseball.
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Freddie Freeman and Matt Olson Comparison
In the Major League Baseball offseason, the Braves lost Freddie Freeman and acquired Matt Olson to replace him. If we compare these 2 players from the 2021 season looking at stats like batting average, obp, ops and even stats like wOBA, it is obvious that Freeman is more of a high-average hitter while Olson is more of a power hitter. So, what is more valuable in today’s game, high average or high power?
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NFL Naming Rights Sponsorship: Who’s Getting the Best Return on Investment?
This article breaks down naming rights sponsorship in the NFL and shows how well they are performing based on social media affinity.
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Analytics Predicts These Five Golfers Will Crush It in 2023
Wondering what lies ahead for golf? Analytics predicts these five golfers will crush it in 2023, but things can change in the blink of an eye!

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