Figuring an exchange rate for sports scores

June 26, 2012

(This article was first published on Revolutions, and kindly contributed to R-bloggers)

While the US's Major League Soccer is using advanced analytics to analyze ball movement and improve team composition, they might want to think about a smaller, but possibly more impactful, goal for analytics. Like, how to explain to an American audience what a 1-2 game means to a basketball or baseball fan not familiar with scoring in the beautiful game.

An R user has tackled this problem for the game of rugby. By analyzing the distributions of scores of typical rugby and soccer games, he was able to determine that a 0-60 loss in Rugby (as befell the Irish team playing the All Blacks last weekend) is equivalent to a 0-7 loss in soccer. Now all someone needs to do is to create an exchange rate table for all common sports, so that the next MLS sports report makes more sense to more Americans. Sportscasters could say something like, "And today, the Seattle Sounders lost to Montreal 1 goal to 4, which feels like a 40-110 drubbing in the NBA." Or whatever the actual exchange rate is, I haven't actually done the analysis. But someone should! Just an idea.

DiffusePrior: How to Convert Rugby into Football/Soccer Scores


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