Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Why ESPN should embrace crowdsourcing

In the National Football League, statisticians have compiled a measure called "passer rating" to evaluate quarterbacks since 1973. Many people have criticized this statistic since it's inception. This year ESPN invested a great deal of time and effort to develop a better measure that they call "total QBR.". They unveiled the rankings of QBs based on this measure in a TV special recently. They argued that this rating includes a much better evaluation of how QBs perform in key situations.

Interestingly, ESPN did not disclose the actual formula and methodology for compiling the rating. I think this was a mistake. These days so many statistics experts love to dissect sports. They would love to sink their teeth into this rating. If ESPN embraced crowd sourcing, they could create a contest whereby many people could compete to refine and improve the measure. They could offer a special prize for the winner - think one day at the firm's Bristol headquarters complete with a lunch with a top ESPN personality. Such a contest wouls be very inexpensive to run, but it would have many benefits. It would engage many rabid sports fans, who are ESPN's core customers. The contest would specifically build connections with stats-obsessed fans. It could yield a better measure. Moreover, being open about the method could enhance the acceptance and use of this new rating by fans, media folks, and teams. Think of the hoopla that they could create and the attention it would draw.

3 comments:

Dobes said...

Not sure if this would work like it worked for Netflix. While ESPN didn't release their algorithm, they made it pretty clear that it's very complex..they only took the rating back to 2008 and it requires pretty in depth video analysis which not many people have access to. It would also be tougher to judge effectiveness since there isn't really an end user like with Netflix.

doctorw0rm said...

I agree completely and i think that there's still enough rabid sports fans that could think of a way to improve the formula. If you like sports you should check out the sports report on my blog at http://twoheadedboys.blogspot.com/ and follow it if you dig it

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