Vantage Sports - Sports Analytics from the Future
Vantage Sports - Sports Analytics from the Future
A ridiculously detailed set of tools based on never-before-tracked data to evaluate the players you know and love
A ridiculously detailed set of tools based on never-before-tracked data to evaluate the players you know and love Read more
About this project
What You Get:
We are using Kickstarter to raise funds for the first consumer product built with the Vantage dataset. This product is called "ProScout."
- How, where, and why do players excel or fail?
- What unique matchup issues will they face?
- What are the results of past matchups?
- How is their performance trending in all aspects of the game?
ProScout answers these questions in more detail and interactivity than ever before. You can go explore Steph Curry's page at vantagesports.com.
We're excited to build ProScout, but we also wanted to give you access to other products built with our data. At various pledge levels (see below), you can get the following:
Stories and Insights at vantagesports.com
ProScout will be the backbone of vantagesports.com, which will also include short insights and long-form articles based on our data.
Check out our blog to get an idea of the types of stories that are now available.
iPad Scouting App
The alpha version of our iPad app "Vantage Basketball" is available in the iPad store (password required). Now you can scout from anywhere along with video clips to help you understand each stat.
Our enterprise tools give you full access to an almost unlimited amount of new insights along with certain video clips to help you understand these insights. They include a dashboard view of hundreds of new and relevant metrics across all aspects of the game:
And our search function allows you to slice and dice the data to answer any question:
How You Get It (Rewards):
Early Supporters - We welcome all levels of support. Your $1 pledge puts your name on the thank-you page of vantagesports.com and keeps you up-to-date on our progress through periodic email updates.
Fan - vantagesports.com will include free insights and articles and paid insights and articles that only our data can tell. It's like a supercharged version of ESPN Insider. We expect access to the paid content to cost $4/mo. Your $10 pledge gets you full access for the rest of the 2013-2014 season (including playoffs). You can also follow your favorite player on ProScout.
Member - Your $25 pledge pays for a full 12 months of membership at vantagesports.com. Plus the previous reward.
Fantasy Expert - ProScout will cost $1/mo per player followed. Your $65 pledge pays for a year of following up to 10 players. It also gives you immediate access to the alpha version of our iPad app, "Vantage Basketball," available now in the iPad store. Now you can scout and watch video from your couch or anywhere you have wifi. Plus all previous rewards.
Fanatic - Your $100 pledge pays for a year of following all available players with ProScout as well as all previous rewards. You will also get early access to ProScout on Feb. 15, 2014.
Guru - Our in-house statisticians and data experts love to utilize our data to answer unique questions. Your $250 pledge entitles you to a personalized response to up to 3 questions a week throughout the NBA season. Whether it's a trade you're considering for your fantasy team, some insight into your favorite (or least favorite) player to confirm your theories, or an argument you want settled. You will also receive all previous rewards and early access to ProScout on Jan. 30, 2014.
Collaborator - We love interacting with fans, statisticians, and aspiring professionals. Your $500 pledge gets you in the middle of the discussion. You will be invited to join a focus group where we discuss updates, ongoing research, and potential areas of exploration. This group will start immediately post-funding. Help us design our next generation of products around your needs. You will also receive all previous rewards. You will also get early access to ProScout on Jan. 15, 2014.
Innovator - Your $1,000 pledge gives you full access to our database through our web and mobile enterprise tools. Run unlimited searches and uncover your own insights. You will also receive all previous rewards. Get access to data and ProScout on Jan. 1, 2014.
Highest Denominated Pledge - Our highest donating contributor will join Ryan Blake and other founders for dinner and a game. Talk shop, eat some food, drink some drink.
How We Got Here:
We're sports fanatics. And we think we, the fan, can do better than a traditional NBA box score.
In fact, we think for all the time we spend thinking about this game, that we DESERVE better statistics than what is currently available.
And so, we've been building a better way to track and report basketball games.
Here's an example of what we've learned to do. Watch this clip of Chris Paul:
Now look at the description of this play from the official play-by-play during that time:
The official box score shows the following:
Is this the best we can do!?
Here's what the Vantage dataset says happened on this same play for Chris Paul:
If we are successful, fans will never again be at an informational disadvantage to any exec, player, or media outlet.
Are you content with data like this:
Or will you demand this?
Do you want to visit stats pages like this:
Or like this?
We are proud of our enterprise products, but with your help, we can give everyone access to the insights and stories our data make possible, not just the wealthy (and few) insiders. We have big plans to truly democratize our data.
Traditional Gaming and Fantasy
Our prediction of traditional statistical outcomes and tips on matchup nuances will help you dominate traditional forms of gaming and fantasy.
Next Generation Fantasy Games
We are also working on revolutionary new fantasy games where all aspects of the game are used for scoring and your team actually plays together as a team as opposed to just racking up individual box-score stats playing on separate real teams.
We have created mobile apps that NBA players love, and we want to turn them into fan experiences.
We aren't cut out for the anchor desk, but had fun putting together this concept video for "VantagePoint."
We are already working on soccer and football (e.g., detailed lineman stats, detailed receiver & DB stats, etc.)
Why We Can Deliver:
Technology Challenges - (a) building a data-aggregation system that would be both fast and accurate, (b) building fast and flexible database infrastructure, and (c) serving tons of data and video.
- Having worked with big data issues during his 7 years at Google, Cameron is perfectly suited to deal with these challenges.
- Long walks on Alkai beach.
Basketball Challenges - (a) taking professional scouting techniques and turning them into discrete and definable events and (b) incorporating feedback from numerous sources within the league into a one-data-set-fits-all solution.
- As the Senior Director of Scouting Operations for the NBA and with over 20 years of experience, Ryan was uniquely prepared to help us create our dataset.
Communication Challenges - (a) creating the most relevant new statistics and (b) designing user experiences that communicate effectively to different audiences.
- A lawyer with tons of writing and editing experience. Taught us all the proper use of serial commas.
- Designing our consumer products - doing it well. Experienced designer for world-class brands.
Numerous Statisticians - We have worked with a lot of statisticians to conduct research and create our proprietary algorithms.
Operational Challenges - (a) getting all games in HD format cleaned and into the system and (b) coordinating all the moving parts from game time to completion of analysis.
- Expert at taking disjointed processes and combining them into a well-oiled machine. USC alum, but we got over it.
Shopping and Waste Challenges - (a) buying enough Costco snacks to keep everyone happy and (b) keeping the trash cans empty.
- As a father of 4, Brett is an expert deal-finder and trash-throw-awayer.
We are raising $220,000. This will allow us to build ProScout. Exceeding this funding requirement will allow us to build additional products.
FAQ About Our Data
1. How did you come up with your dataset?
We track significant actions and outcomes by mixing traditional scouting methods and clearly defined parameters. We worked with the best scouts in the NBA, including Ryan Blake, Senior Director of Scouting Operations for the NBA, and brought in numerous NBA teams and professionals to refine the dataset.
2. Why is it better than SportVu?
It is much more relevant. SportVu is simply a vehicle, just like our technology is a vehicle. The destinations are the data and insights produced. Both vehicles aggregate data - SportVu collects location and movement data only. To even get to our low-level data, SportVu data have to be mined and algorithms created. They are just now able to recognize (most) screens with some accuracy. We already deliver hundreds of new and relevant metrics in every phase of the game.
3. Why is it better than Synergy?
Orders of magnitude more data, far more accurate, better video, more tools.
4. How do you gather all these data?
It's a combination of algorithmic (autonomous) collection and human analysis. Our analysts provide a bulk of the "high-level" analysis (i.e., what constitutes a hedge vs. show in a screen-defense context), whereas we can deduce a lot of the low-level events (scores, game times, possession/chance changes) from computer vision tech. As we continue to advance this technology, we will automate more and more. Our analysts are full-time employees that have all undergone an extensive 3-month training process before they begin submitting data. Furthermore, our NBA analysts have been working for almost 2 years now.
5. How do you ensure accuracy?
Our verification process is a 4-stage system.
6. How accurate are your data?
More accurate than play-by-play. A recent audit by the NBA league office showed us to be 99.7% accurate.
7. What exactly do you analyze?
You can explore a visual representation of our dataset by selecting the image:
Or watch a video overview:
8. Whoa, that was overwhelming. How do you make sense of all that data?
We understand that diving headfirst into our dataset can be overwhelming. That is why we have focused on turning these data into stories. Here is how we turn millions of data points into relevant content.
Creating New Statistics
Our data are extremely flexible, and we can slice and dice the data any way we want. The first step is to create a new statistic from our data. We have already created hundreds of new, relevant statistics. Here is what some of them look like on our web-based enterprise tool:
9. OK, can you give me an example of how a new statistic can tell a better story?
Yes. One problem we wanted to solve was how to accurately judge a player's passing ability.
Traditionally, the only number used to judge a player's ability to facilitate the scoring of teammates has been Assists. Assist per game/possession numbers therefore dominate the stories we tell about the value of players. However, assist numbers are misleading in a number of ways including:
- they do not take into account the ability of teammates to make shots; and
- they do not take into account the level of shot defense applied to made shots.
Using our data, we fixed these problems. We used two pieces of unique data to create a new statistic called "True Facilitation." First, we track the level of shot defense applied to all shots. Second, we track all passes. True Facilitation is the number of passes to uncontested shots, regardless of whether the shot is made or missed. In other words, True Facilitation excludes those assists where the shooter made a contested shot, but includes passes that resulted in a missed uncontested shot. Therefore, True Facilitation is the best measure of a passer's ability to "find the open man."
Last year, Ricky Rubio was 10th in the league in Assists Per Game, but he was 3rd in True Facilitation.
Watching a few of Ricky Rubio's Potential Assists makes it clear that we should stop valuing passers based on their teammates' excellent or poor shooting:
Risks and challenges
Surfacing insights from our data automatically will be our biggest challenge. We built Steph Curry's VantagePro report manually by culling broad strengths and weaknesses and looking for the most relevant insights and nuances.
However, we are well positioned to overcome this challenge because we have been working with our data for more than a year and have already created unique algorithms that address player and NBA front-office questions.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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