Just under 3 years ago I reached out to Simon Beaumont and Spencer Baucke suggesting we start a sports & data based community. I’d been following the pair of them on Twitter for some time and admiring their football based visualisations so I reached out and #sportsvizsunday was born!

After 3 years of co-running the initiative I’m stepping down and wanted to write down a few reflections on the pros and cons of being involved in running a data community, as well as some of the reasons for moving on.

Pro: social & networking opportunities

Arguably the biggest pro or running sportsvizsunday was meeting and…

A visual analysis of Sebastian Vettel’s career in numbers and charts.

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“Numero uno is back, Ferrari is back.”

Sebastian Vettel had just won the 2015 Malaysian Grand Prix, his second race with the Italian racing giants Ferrari since joining them from Red Bull Racing.

“Grazie, grazie. Forza Ferrari”

With his index finger pointed to the skies, F1 fans could be heard groaning around the world that the sport was destined for more pole to flag processions as Vettel disappeared into the distance, not to be troubled for the duration of the race.

Except that didn’t happen. Not with Vettel, or Ferrari, anyway.

Dig into all-time race data, Australian GP lap data, and preseason testing data as part of the March Challenge!

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Sports data fans, Start your engines!

The new Formula 1 season gets underway on March 15th in Melbourne, Australia. I can think of no better way to celebrate than launching our March #sportsvizsunday challenge with a plethora of exciting F1 datasets for fans to explore, analyse and visualise!

For those new to Sports Viz Sunday, here’s a brief introduction:

Sports Viz Sunday provides a platform for those interested in sports to come together and explore the world of sports data & visualization. …

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Analysing football data provides an excellent opportunity to use visual cues such as football pitch and goal frame outlines to help communicate visual analysis. 2D Football pitches have been popularised across media culture as a method of visualising tactics, pass networks, goals & lineups. These include newspaper & online journalism, video games such as Football Manager and Television broadcasters who are now using increasingly sophisticated tools to recreate passages of play for viewers.

These visualisations work because the creator and audience share the same frame of reference. Football pitches and goal outlines don’t need any further explanation; they are so…

Visually analysing direct set pieces in football using StatsBomb Data, R, and Tableau

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May 21 2008. Moscow. Rain is pouring in the Luzhniki Stadium as John Terry steps up to take the penalty that will win the Champions League for the first time in Chelsea’s history.


That fateful night in Moscow is best remembered for the rain- and tear-streaked face of the Chelsea captain as Manchester United players wheel away in delight after winning the coveted European trophy. Less well remembered was the close friend and advisor of Chelsea manager Avram Grant: Spanish Professor Ignacio Palacios Huerta.

Huerta, dubbed “the penalty doctor” for his work on linking economic game theory to penalty…

A summary of the key themes from the Encode Conference exploring data journeys in design, journalism & education.

Encode held its inaugural conference in September 2019 & I was lucky enough to attend the full two days of talks, plus the FT workshop run by John Burn-Murdoch and Federica Cocco.

The Conference, put together by Hem Patel & Pierro Zagami, centered on ‘Data journeys in design, journalism and education’. I came out of the conference on Friday evening with the usual post-conference buzz of ideas, inspiration and having met some great new people, but the content and tone of the conference were very different to any I’d experienced before. I definitely hope to attend again in 2020.


Using data visualization to measure how Max Verstappen’s young career stacks up against the Formula 1 greats

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Max Verstappen racing with Red Bull — photograph by Jake Archibald

The recent US Grand Prix marked 100 races (or in certain corners of sports parlance, a century) for Max Verstappen. At the tender age of 22, this is quite an achievement, particularly considering that there are only 19 to 21 races per season in modern day Formula 1. The son of former racing driver Jos Verstappen has been earmarked as a future World Champion ever since he burst onto the scene in Japan at the back end of 2014 when he raced as a test driver for Toro Rosso in a practice session.

The racing world is ripe for analytics…

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My most recent Tableau Public work: I love using Sports data to see trends & patterns through visualization

I recently achieved two personal milestones, both thanks to a platform that has changed my career, given me an online presence & introduced me to an amazing community of people. That platform is Tableau Public.

My name is James Smith, I’m an Analytics Consultant at Biztory in the UK & I use my passion for Sport to drive my data learning, designs & curiosity. This blog tells the story of the journey from my first encounter with Tableau Public to becoming a Tableau Public Ambassador & reaching my 1000th follower on Public. …

Exploring the story behind how the chart got its names and its potential use cases

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A sample Polar Area Chart created in R using data from transfermarkt.com

This chart has been referenced by several different names: Polar Area, Wind Rose, (just) Rose, Coxcomb, or even ‘Consultants’ chart. I’ll start by outlining the history of the chart and some of the differences that I’ve observed from trawling through the web. At the bottom there is a technical explanation of how to create the chart in R’s ggplot2 package.

First, let’s deal with the name. The Data Viz Project bunches the Polar Area, Coxcomb & Rose chart together using the following description:

‘The Polar Area chart is similar to a usual pie chart, except sectors are equal angles and…

James Smith

Founder of SportsChord. Interested in sports analytics and visualization.

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