Consequences for Houston after the CP3-Rondo Dispute

After reviewing footage of Saturday night’s incident late in the Houston Rocket’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, the NBA League Office has announced that Chris Paul, Rajon Rondo, and Brandon Ingram will all receive 2, 3, and 4-game suspension penalties, respectively.

Fansure provides insurance coverage for fans who buy tickets to see games where star players sit out due to rest, injury, or other reasons like suspension. We also predict how “good” a game might be based on the aggregate quality of the teams and star players involved in a given matchup using our 1-10 Fansure Index scale.

While Rondo and Ingram’s absences will undoubtedly hurt the Lakers for their next few games on the court, they won’t affect the business value of those games. In fact, Ingram and Rondo’s absence leads to a $0.25 decrease in ticket value. You can guess which Lakers star would lead to a significantly higher drop.

Now Chris Paul is another story. Any game he misses has a significant impact on the market value of Rockets games. Fansure’s analysis on his upcoming absence is shown below:

Chris Paul Suspension Impact.png

Over the two games of CP3’s suspension, the ticket value according to the index drops 21.2% ($4.54/game/seat). The total across the seating capacity adds up to $81,900 in lost value per game. Note that the Index does not capture the full emotion behind CP3 facing his former team on Sunday night. Houston’s overall team rating, which is factored into the Index, drops 11% without CP3.

Relatively speaking, Paul’s two-game suspension is a bit generous considering how unforgiving former NBA commissioner David Stern was when it came to physical altercations on the court. But given the increasing value and power individual star athletes have in this golden era, maybe it’s in the NBA’s best interest to minimize his time away from the court.

2018-19 NBA Season Forecast

Fansure developed the Fansure Index, which provides fans a perspective on the quality level to expect from any NBA game. This takes several factors into account, such as the market appeal of the two teams in a given matchup and its players. After one of the most exciting offseasons in the history of the league, this season promises not to lack great storylines.

For fans looking to circle certain games on their calendar, we have identified some of the most highly anticipated matchups. There’s also some games that might take a hit in terms of quality due to the likelihood of star players being out, so we want to give a heads up for those as well. Here’s a list of some of the most anticipated games of the year, along with their Fansure Index ratings:

Fansure Index Scale.png
2018-19 Forecast.png

As you can see, some of the matchups that look great on paper don’t necessarily translate to a high Index rating. Of course, the games with the highest ratings represent what you probably would have guessed - such as pretty much any Warriors or Lakers games. The ones that we want to point out, however, are the games that MIGHT be good but have a good chance of leaving fans disappointed.

10/16/18 - Oklahoma City Thunder @ Golden State Warriors

On any other day, this matchup carries a rating greater than 9/10. But tonight, Russell Westbrook is expected to miss the game. So after the Warriors receive their rings and raise their 2018 championship banner, don’t expect the quality of the game to meet its usual standards. Not to mention, we won’t get any epic mano-a-mano showdowns between KD and Russ. At least, not until November 21st.

10/16/18 - Philadelphia 76ers @ Boston Celtics

Yes, these are the two presumed favorites in the LeBron-less Eastern Conference. Yes, there are plenty of stars in the game. So why is this only rated a 7.3?

First, admittedly, our Index doesn’t yet capture the anticipation of Opening Night as much as we’d like to - at least, not yet. But more importantly, the drop-off in matchup quality after the top teams in the West is so steep, that any East matchup is going to be rated significantly lower than matchups featuring the West’s best.

The most important factor in this phenomenon is simple: LeBron James. The fact that he’s no longer in the East has plummeted the quality of the conference overall. This is also evident in the dynamics of his new team; the Lakers, even though there is little star power aside from LeBron and a relatively low likelihood of them contending for a title, have substantially increased their Index rating from the mere addition of King James.

Lack of parity aside, this is as good of an Eastern Conference matchup as you can expect this season. We hope we’re wrong, but let’s face it: the other stars of the East have very big shoes to fill.

2/13/19 - Philadelphia 76ers @ New York Knicks

As it turns out, games approaching mid-February seem to experience a dip in our Index ratings. That’s not unique to this particular game. Can you guess why?

3 words: NBA All-Star Weekend! With this being the last game before an 8-day break, it is highly likely that Coach Brett Brown gives his injury-prone superstars the night off. Given that the Knicks are likely to be a lottery team without Kristaps Porzingis for most of the season, this game is likely to carry very low importance in the eyes of the Sixers. This is not to say that there’s a 100% chance that Embiid, Simmons, and Fultz are not going to play. But with the higher probabilities that they don’t, the Index rating is taking a substantial hit. So, with the cheapest ticket being priced today at $67 (a mere $2 less than the preceding Warriors game, for context), fans should wait on buying until they know for sure if the stars will actually play. Or, they can insure their ticket in case they don’t!

Be sure to check our website to get the latest Fansure Index ratings before you buy your tickets! We want to make sure you get the best possible experience when choosing which games to attend.

Which games do you think are going to be as good as advertised? Which ones won’t? Let us know your thoughts by commenting below!

The Fansure Index

Introduction:

How to predict the quality of upcoming games is a recurring question asked by fans, TV networks, ticket vendors, the League Office, and all stakeholders alike.  Fans want the quality of their experience to match the ticket price they pay, while ticket vendors price games based on the perceived quality and demand.  However, unforeseen circumstances such as star player unavailability can adversely impact these dynamics, especially for fans paying top dollar with the primary intent of seeing a star player in action.

Using machine learning, Fansure has developed an index - the Fansure Index - to help fans be more informed as to the expected quality of the game they are interested in attending based on 1) performance parameters for teams and players (on- and off-court) and 2) the likelihood of star players being available for the game.  In other words, we can predict the quality of games based on both known and probabilistic parameters.  The index can also be used by ticket retailers and TV networks when deciding on ticket prices and which games to air, respectively.  Furthermore, it can be used by players to assess their potential market value for a franchise.

Methods:

The Fansure Index – developed by two NASA rocket scientists – uses team and player rating systems to quantify the aggregate star power and market appeal of every NBA team. The combined ratings of two teams in any given matchup are used to generate the Index on a 1-10 scale. Simulations show that ticket prices in the various franchise markets correlate exponentially to the Index to a high degree of statistical significance. This tool can be used to predict the ticket price impact for various scenarios. If star players switch teams, the Index can predict the corresponding change in ticket prices (e.g., Kawhi Leonard and Jimmy Butler joining the Clippers would increase their prices by 229%). Similarly, if a star player gets injured or traded, the ticket value lost for subsequent games can be quantified.  The probabilities of key players missing games is modeled using a logistical regression algorithm. Factors considered in this model include schedule-based parameters and player-specific metrics. Knowing the ticket price impact of available key players on a game can greatly help ticket vendors make market pricing decisions accordingly.

Results:

The figures below show nominal ticket prices for select teams based on the Fansure Index (left) and the predicted probability of the top NBA players missing games over the past five seasons (right).             

 Plot of Ticket Prices vs. the Fansure Index for some of the league’s top teams

Plot of Ticket Prices vs. the Fansure Index for some of the league’s top teams

 Plot of average probability of games missed for the top 30 players over the course of the last several NBA seasons.

Plot of average probability of games missed for the top 30 players over the course of the last several NBA seasons.

Conclusion:

The Fansure Index is a metric for assessing the quality of a game using team and player attributes and predicted player availability. Using ticket prices for the 2018-19 season, the Index accurately conveys the value of games. This tool can be used by fans when prioritizing which games to watch or attend and by those with business involvement such as ticket vendors, TV networks, and players.

Welcome to the Fansure Blog!

Greetings, sports fans!

Welcome to the Fansure Blog! Fansure is a sports analytics company that uses machine learning to predict the quality and value of NBA games based on the impact of its star players. In addition to offering player-based insurance on our main website, we want to provide the NBA community insights on what to expect from upcoming games.

We hope you enjoy our blog and protect your ticket purchases through us any time you want to see your favorite star player in action!