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).

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Poll: College Students Think NFL Should Implement COVID Bubble Strategy, Favor College Football Over NFL
Covid-19 has altered the way of life for nearly every person in the world. Yet, with turmoil and chaos all around, many find a sense of normalcy in sport. As the NFL begins its 2020 season, Samford University’s Center for Sports Analytics researched the reactions of hundreds of college students to the new-normal of the NFL.
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Which League Most Effectively Engaged Fans During the Pandemic?
Although the country is divided on many topics right now, one thing most of us can agree on is that we are glad sports are back!
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Optimizing Collegiate Baseball Lineups with Seqnzr: A Pilot Study
Throughout all levels of baseball, the growing significance of advanced analytics have allowed coaches and players to analyze and predict performance in more effective ways. Utilizing Seqnzr’s simulation software, this analysis compares three different approaches to generating batting lineups across the fourteen Southeastern Conference baseball teams.
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Leeds United’s Relegation Survival Magic Number is ????
Leeds United, one of the most storied clubs in European football, is back in the Premier League for the first time in 16 years.
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A Look at the 2020 NBA Defensive Player of the Year Race
The NBA playoffs start soon. This not only means fans will see competitiveness rise, but that we will also finally know who won the regular season awards. Take a look at our comparison of some of this year’s Defensive Player of the Year candidates.
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A Look at the 2020 NBA MVP Candidates
With the NBA playoffs right around the corner, it is time to speculate about regular season awards. Take a look at our comparison of MVP candidates.
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A Deep Dive into Leeds United’s Growing Fanbase in Argentina
Phil Hay (@PhilHay_) of the Athletic recently published an article entitled, “A football revolution – Bielsa is making Leeds compulsive viewing in Argentina” which discussed Leeds United’s growing fanbase in the South American country. In response to his article, the Center for Sports Analytics at Samford University conducted a deep dive into this unusual and far-flung fanbase by analyzing the social media content of 547,000 followers of the official Leeds United F.C. Twitter account. Our analysis, powered by Affinio, unearthed fan psychographic and demographic insights utilizing machine learning and artificial intelligence.
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The Problem with No Fans at the NBA Bubble in Orlando
The NBA has resumed their season at the Orlando bubble, and has not disappointed so far, with many close games. One thing could have made those close games even better: fans. The NBA has attempted to address this by having “virtual fans,” which have provided funny reactions. We wonder if that is the only thing fans do, or if they actually affect the game being played.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.
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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.

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