March Madness

It’s March Madness. And I know not a thing about basketball. But I do know a thing (maybe even two) about infographics and data visualization. I also that Nate Silver pretty much rocks. So when he releases odds for different teams to progress throughout this year’s tournament, you basketball/infographic/data viz-loving folks should pay attention.

The 538 Forecast Bracket
The 538 Forecast Bracket

I of course had to go with Villanova. If only because I have to represent the Main Line. I mean really, it was down to Nova or Temple, which do you think I would pick?

Credit for the piece goes to Nate Silver (definitely for the data, not so sure for the design/interaction/build of the piece).

NFL Teams by the Numbers

While the Superbowl was two weekends ago, I have been sitting on this post for a little while. Probably because I really just don’t understand the sport. But over at the Guardian, the interactive team put together an interactive infographic that looked at payroll spending for each team by position and by overall position, i.e. offence vs. defence.

Admittedly I found the position part not as interesting, probably because of my aforementioned lack of understanding of the game. But the small-multiples-based exploration of the offence vs. defence numbers was quite interesting. It allows the user to highlight their preferred team and then sort the view by offence, defence, or special teams.

The overview shows the breakdown of spending by team
The overview shows the breakdown of spending by team
Selecting a team highlights its data
Selecting a team highlights its data
Sorting the data by one of the four metrics atop the table, in this case offence
Sorting the data by one of the four metrics atop the table, in this case offence

Credit for the piece goes to the Guardian US interactive team and Harry J. Enten.

Super Bowl (Some Number)

If you didn’t know, the Super Bowl is Sunday. I admit, I forgot it was this Sunday. But you probably know that’s because I’m more of a baseball guy, specifically a Red Sox guy. Prior to forgetting I had been looking for a nice infographic on either the 49ers or the Ravens, the two teams involved. I forgot because I didn’t find any. Until this morning.

It’s not very large, nor very detailed, but it’s about football. And it’s about the 49ers. So it meets my requirements.

Frank Gore
Frank Gore

Photograph by Stephen Dunn/Getty Images.

Full disclaimer, despite being a Red Sox fan from Philly, I’m an Eagles fan. So I could care less who wins this match on Sunday.

The Red Sox Were Truly Awful in 2012

The Boston Red Sox hired John Farrell this weekend to be their manager just one season after hiring Bobby Valentine for the role. There is a lot to be said about just who is to blame about the Red Sox’ awful season. But it was pretty awful. How awful? The Boston Globe shows us in this interactive piece.

It’s a series of small multiples of line charts. However, one of the big problems with the infographic is that the labels are entirely absent. As best I can tell the line is the number of games over .500, i.e. an even split between wins and losses. But, it could be more clearly called out if not in the legend or on the axes than in the title.

But over all it does put this past season into a sober perspective.

How Bad is Bad? Awful, it Turns Out.
How Bad is Bad? Awful, it Turns Out.

Credit for the piece goes to Daigo Fujiwara.

The Armstrong Doping Scandal

All major sports eventually have a big scandal seemingly about drugs. Here’s looking at you, baseball and Manny Ramirez (see the Mitchell Report). But this time it’s cycling’s turn. Here’s looking at you, Lance Armstrong. The New York Times published a timeline of exactly how the USADA alleges Armstrong ran a team-wide doping programme. It should be noted that while Armstrong denies the allegations, he is not contesting them.

The timeline
The timeline

Credit for the piece goes to Joe Ward and Alan McLean.

How About Those [Insert Team Here]?

It’s Friday. And it might almost be time for sports conversations. Thanks to xkcd I know that as an American, in the month of September, I should be discussing football (with the pointy-ended ball). But don’t worry, I’ll leave my support for the Red Sox at the front door.

Sports Cheat Sheet
Sports Cheat Sheet

Red Sox–Dodgers Trade

There was a lot of news this past weekend. So we’ll start with the important stuff first. An infographic about the big baseball trade between my Boston Red Sox and the Los Angeles Dodgers. The advantage of a story breaking over the weekend is time to get something together for Monday.

The Red Sox–Dodgers Trade
The Red Sox–Dodgers Trade

Olympic Forecast Comparison

During my research for the Olympic medal projections, I came across a few sites that presented a few other projections because, quite frankly, 65 seemed rather high given that the UK won only 47 the year before. The chart below just compares how the other forecasts turned out in the end.

Forecasts Compared
Forecasts Compared

Emily Williams from the Tusk School of Business, Price Waterhouse Coopers, Dan Johnson of Colorado College, and Meghan Busse from Northwestern University.

How the UK Got to the 65 Medals We Correctly Predicted

So the Olympics are over. But before they began, I and some co-workers made a prediction about how the United Kingdom and their Team GB would perform. We predicted 65 medals. How did the United Kingdom fare? They won 65 medals. This is a follow-up infographic about what made the United Kingdom a winner at the 2012 Summer Games. It’s a bit larger than the first version, but this one also includes new data and revisits some of the earlier themes.

Another important (and correct) prediction was that China would slip and not reach 100 medals. This should happen after experiencing the host nation bump. While we did not create a number for China, they scored only 87 medals. Another correct prediction.

We Nailed the Prediction of 65 Team GB Medals
We Nailed the Prediction of 65 Team GB Medals

All in all a very successful series. (Created for my employer Euromonitor International, as the usual disclaimer goes.)

Olympic Medal Ranking

As I wrote about last weekend, one can look at the Olympics rankings in a number of different ways. Even without weighting medal counts, one has to decide whether to rank countries by gold medals (as the IOC does) or by total medals (my personal preference). The New York Times looks at both in an interesting ranking chart.

How France Ranks
How France Ranks

The piece also lets you account for population.

Accounting for population…
Accounting for population…

Credit for the piece goes to Matthew Bloch, Shan Carter, and Amanda Cox.