January 08, 2019
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 NBA ticket prices 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 Fansure Index can also be used by ticket retailers and TV networks when deciding on NBA ticket prices and which games to air, respectively. Furthermore, it can be used by players to assess their potential market value for a franchise.
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 logistic 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.
These charts show NBA ticket prices for select teams based on the Fansure Index (above) and the predicted probability of the top NBA players missing games over the past five seasons (below).
The Fansure Index is a metric for assessing the quality of a game using team and player attributes and predicted player availability. Using NBA ticket prices for the 2018-19 season, the Fansure 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 and TV networks.
Plot of average probability of games missed for the top 30 players over the course of the last several NBA seasons.
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A die-hard basketball fan, Vijay founded Fansure in 2017 when he got fed up with going to games where star players sat out. Prior to founding Fansure, Vijay worked for 6.5 years at NASA as an aero/fluids engineer for unmanned rocket and satellite missions, and served 3 years at Lockheed Martin on their business development team.
Vijay holds a bachelor’s degree in aerospace engineering from the University of Michigan and a MBA from Georgetown University.
An avid Sixers fan and basketball enthusiast, Dan’s experience spans 10 years in varying operational capacities within the sports, financial, and aerospace and defense industries. Prior to Fansure, Dan was a project manager for Lockheed Martin responsible for analyzing cost, schedule, and performance for satellite and missile defense programs.
Dan holds a bachelor’s degree in business from Virginia Tech and master’s degree in Project Management from Drexel University.
Jackie specializes in product communication, marketing, and go to market strategy. She has 12 years of experience launching consumer goods for Procter & Gamble and is a R&D section head.
Jackie holds a bachelor’s degree in biomedical engineering from Cornell University, as well as an MBA from Xavier University.
Cole is a senior research engineer working on technology development at NASA Ames Research Center. He has 6.5 years of experience focusing on atmospheric entry for human and robotic exploration. Cole has a passion for data science and joined Fansure after months of weekly pick-up basketball games with the rest of the Fansure team.
Cole holds a bachelor’s degree from the University of Minnesota and a master’s degree from Georgia Tech, both in aerospace engineering.
Scott is a PhD Candidate in Agricultural and Resource Economics at UC Berkeley. Much of his research focuses on consumer decision-making in agricultural, environmental, and sports settings. His sports-related research has focused on the economics of superstar players, attempting to measure the economic value of these players to fans. He presented at the 2019 MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, winning Best Poster for his work on NBA superstars. Scott grew up in Los Angeles, where he fostered his fandom of the Lakers.
Scott holds a bachelor's degree in Environmental Science and Environmental Economics and Policy, as well as a master's degree in Agricultural and Resource Economics from UC Berkeley.
Jag Bansal is the founder & CEO of miiCloud - an authentication platform using face recognition. Previously, he was the founder and CTO of BlueCart and spent 10 years in technology consulting with Accenture.
Jag holds a BS in Computer Engineering from University of Maryland-College Park and a MBA from Georgetown University.
Kenneth has been practicing law for over 20 years. He has represented and worked for both public and private companies as an attorney, businessman and executive in a wide variety of technology businesses.
Kenneth holds a MBA from the University of California, Berkeley, and a JD from the University of Michigan.
Elliot works in the finance industry and has experience in financial analysis, forecasting, and pricing. He’s also a huge Clippers fan.
Elliot holds a bachelor’s degree from UCLA and a MBA from Georgetown University.
Amin is a rising star in the NBA media, serving ESPN as an NBA analyst and commentator. He regularly appears on 'The Jump' and other ESPN TV segments and co-hosts 'No Look Pass' on SiriusXM NBA radio. He was also in prominent front office roles in the NBA, most recently as the Assistant Director of Basketball Operations with the Phoenix Suns.
Amin was born in Sudan and earned a Bachelor's and MBA - both from Arizona State University. An avid Star Wars fan, Amin's social media handles are all @darthamin.