Fantasy Baseball’s Secret Weapon: ADPs

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Fantasy baseball owners are always looking for that road map to the finish line, one that preferably puts them in first place. Well, here’s some good news: We might have that perfect road map for you in 2015.

It’s called Average Draft Position (ADP) lists and nobody has a better one than the National Fantasy Baseball Championship (NFBC). The NFBC is the premiere high-stakes contest in the fantasy baseball industry and over the last 11 years more than $25 million has been awarded in those contests. The ADP that has been generated by those pay drafts over the last 150 days seem to provide the perfect road map to a great draft.

ADPs show you where all players are going in more than 200 pay NFBC drafts. We also break down these drafts with data since March 1st, showing you the latest trends of drafts. The ADPs show you that Mike Trout is a consensus No. 1 overall pick (he’s gone first all but once in 200+ drafts) and it also shows you that the hottest player in drafts right now is Chicago Cubs’ third baseman Kris Bryant. This rookie had an ADP of 153 in February, then he rose to 103 in early March when he started hitting home run after home run in spring training. In the last few days he’s gone as high as 17th overall! The ADPs show you these trends and they are invaluable to a fantasy baseball owner.

For all of the latest NFBC ADPs go to: http://hosted.stats.com/mlb/adp.asp?pos=all

For more information on the NFBC, contact Greg Ambrosius at gambrosius@stats.com.

Brand Activation in Sports: What We Learned in Austin and What It Means for Your Business

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Austin is one of our nation’s most unique cities, something that rings especially true during SXSW. Each year, tens of thousands of visitors descend on ATX in search of music, film, barbecue and all the other things that locals do to ‘keep Austin weird.’

STATS joined the fray this year with a particular focus on the second-ever SXSports. SXSports is a series of panels in which leaders in the sports world discuss and debate ideas that will define the industry.

For those unable to attend (or those unable to remember their attendance), we created a March Madness-inspired bracket that highlights the most important themes, ultimately pitting one idea against another to identify the most important.

We divided our eight topics into two regions, aptly named for the places where we spent the most time in Austin – barbecue restaurants. The regions are:

IRON WORKS REGION: Custom Branded Content, New Social Platforms, Digital Event Consumption, Virtual Reality.

FRANKLIN’S REGION: Millenials & Sports, Internet of Things, Real-Time Marketing, Drones.

We then applied the following three criteria to each matchup: 1) accessibility to marketers; 2) resonance in the current marketplace; and 3) relevance in the future. We’ll call it the Desert Pirate Framework… ARR!

Before we reveal the winner, an ad from our sponsors. We encourage you to attend our webinar on April 1, when we will discuss the science behind our selections. This will be the first of our Webinar Wednesday Series, which will occur every Wednesday at noon CT and highlight key issues in the sports world. For more detail, please check: http://www.stats.com/webinars/.

And now what you’ve been waiting for. The most striking observation coming out of Austin is… Custom Branded Content. This was an easy choice as nearly every panelist in the SXSports presentations – as well as in the great SXSW conference – mentioned content in some form of another. It’s easy for marketers to attempt, but not necessarily easy to perfect. However, developing sports content does at least provide a large, captive audience. Finally, content, in one form or another, has been and should continue to be relevant to audiences. Creating content in a way that furthers your brand objectives, however, is the key.

One final reminder, for more on every topic we have covered, plus thoughts on the best ways to apply Custom Brand Content to your brand, tune in to our webinar this Wednesday, April 1. And we promise… no more pirate jokes.

The Numbers Behind the Madness: Inside STATS’ NCAA Tournament Support

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It starts quietly each winter, as the Los Angeles-based STATS Research team is beginning its preparation for that year’s NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, with a question or two from our television broadcast clients:

Q: How many teams were runner-up one year and then National Champions the next?
A: North Carolina in 1981-82, Duke in 1990-91, and Kentucky in 1997-98 (of course, Kentucky is trying to accomplish the feat again in 2015).

Q: I know a No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed in the NCAA Tournament. But how often has a No. 2 lost to a No. 15, etc., in the Round of 64?
A: Here you go:

Round of 64 Results (1985-2014)

W-LWin Pct
#1 seed vs #16120–01.000
#2 seed vs #15113-7.942
#3 seed vs #14102-18.850
#4 seed vs #1395-25.792
#5 seed vs #1276-44.633
#6 seed vs #1179-41.658
#7 seed vs #1073-47.608
#8 seed vs #959.61.492

The volume of questions starts to increase greatly as the tournament approaches, but answering queries like this is only a part of the support package that STATS provides to its broadcast clients. Well before the tournament begins, we start updating our NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament Guide, a 2.5-inch thick binder full of historical and current information that we have prepared annually for CBS and (more recently) Turner for the last 12 years. This year’s guide includes nuggets such as these in its various sections:

  • Over the last decade (since 2005), only one team that was ranked No. 1 in the final AP Poll prior to the start of the NCAA Tournament went on to win the title (Kentucky in 2012). Last year’s champion, the Connecticut Huskies, entered the tournament ranked No. 18.
  • Since seeding began in 1979, there has been only one year in which all four No. 1 seeds reached the Final Four: 2008 (Kansas, Memphis, North Carolina, UCLA).
  • Over the last five NCAA Tournaments (2010-14), Big Ten teams have won 51 tournament games, most for any conference.
  • Only two men in NCAA history have both played for and coached an NCAA Championship team: Bob Knight and the late Dean Smith.
  • Coastal Carolina’s team nickname, the Chanticleers, originates from Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales. A chanticleer is a rooster who rules the barnyard with cunning and wit.

For each team in the tournament field, the Tournament Guide includes a four-page team report, that – along with rosters, stats, uniform numbers and the like – contains each team’s tournament history, the head coach’s career and NCAA Tournament record, and a page of player and team notes (like the fact that Larry Nance Jr. of Wyoming has remarkably similar career stats to those compiled by his father, Larry Sr., at Clemson). We produce two versions of the team reports: an early-March edition with a projected tournament field to help CBS and Turner begin their preparations, and then a final edition which the whole entire Research staff works frantically to finish off on Selection Sunday night. (We call that our “All-Hands Weekend” for good reason!).

The fun really starts once the tournament begins. Along with producing a set of matchup notes for every tournament game, we set up chat rooms for each tourney site, so that we can interact directly with network personnel covering the games, getting answers to their in-game questions as quickly as possible. Here are a couple of examples from last year’s championship game between Connecticut and Kentucky:

(NCAA Crew) Can you tell me the longest UConn has gone into a game this season before its first FTA? 

(STATS) Yes, the longest UConn has gone into a game before its first FTA this season was on March 20 vs. St. Joseph’s (Round of 64)… first FTA was with 3:43 left in the 1st half.

(NCAA Crew) Is this the only championship game that UK never led?

(STATS) We were able to confirm that Kentucky led at some point in each of their previous three Championship Game losses (1966, 1975, 1997) … so this would be their first without leading at any point.

And one more exchange from the wild opening Thursday of this year’s tournament:

(NCAA crew) What is the most games decided by one point in a single NCAA Tournament (whole tourney) and what’s the most in one single day?

(STATS) We now have five 1-point games today [Thursday, Mar 19, 2015] which sets a record for the most all-time in a single tournament day.  We have six 1-point games total so far in this year’s tournament; the record for most 1-point games in a single tourney is 7 done four times: 1982, 1984, 1990, 1998.

Nail-biter or blowout, STATS is there to assist its broadcast clients every step of the way. The NCAA calls it “March Madness” for good reason … but we wouldn’t have it any other way.

We’re Elevating Our Game So You Can Elevate Your Business

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You know that new car smell? Everybody loves it. It adds to the experience of driving new wheels and makes you feel good. We’re enjoying that whiff of excitement across our company right now. Much has changed recently at STATS, from the depth and breadth of our portfolio to the look and feel of our website. Everything feels new!

If you haven’t been to www.stats.com recently, go check us out. The site offers a sharper look, is easier to navigate and provides new resources such as STATS e-books, blogs and webinars to bring you our unique perspective on this exciting and diverse industry.

More importantly, our portfolio continues to expand. It has always been a hallmark of STATS to own the deepest content in the industry and across the globe. We won’t let that change. STATS is aggressively transforming the sports information landscape—in the last seven months, we’ve acquired three companies that will keep us at the forefront of sports technology and content.

In September, we acquired BSports to become the industry’s premier resource for sports analytics. The decision to integrate BSports’ sophisticated system of data analysis and predictive modeling with our rich datasets was not a difficult one, and the results haven’t disappointed. We’re now offering highly accurate, data-driven models for both game results and player performance projections to our clients. In fact, STATS was recognized for the accuracy of its fantasy football and baseball projections by the Fantasy Sports Trade Association in a head-to-head competition among industry leaders this past January. More recently, we introduced a completely new product line in Daily Fantasy Sports projections.

Just last month STATS added The Sports Network and Automated Insights to the team. The Sports Network broadens STATS’ product portfolio in North America and particularly strengthens our hockey portfolio. Meanwhile, Automated Insights is the market leader in natural language generation (NLG) technology across multiple industries, including sports. Wordsmith, Ai’s NLG platform, automatically transforms raw data into narratives with the depth, personality and variety of a human writer. The platform created over a billion articles and reports for its customers in 2014, which include The Associated Press, Yahoo! and Comcast. There is a world of opportunity here, and we are particularly excited to throw SportVU player tracking data and predictive analytics into Wordsmith.

You might have also noticed our new tagline, Elevate Your Game™. It’s sporty and distinctly captures our stated mission to revolutionize the way sports contests are viewed, understood, played and enjoyed. We’re elevating our game so you can elevate your business. Hop on board!