Introducing finder’s T20 Big Bash Entertainment Index

Chris Stead 12 December 2017 NEWS

Big bash 6

Cricket is a sport that's never short of a good statistic, but finder has come up with never-before-seen stats for the BBL.

T20 is considered the most entertaining of the three forms of cricket and Australia’s Big Bash League proves that theory right. The seventh season kicks off on 19 December and already the Big Bash has the seventh-highest average attendance of any sporting league in the world. It’s only beaten by the likes of the Premier League, the NFL, Major League Baseball and Bundesliga.

It’s also beaten by another cricket league in the Indian Premier League, also a T20 competition. This further shows just how big an impact T20 cricket has had on the world of sport.

But if it's maximum entertainment that the crowd wants, then we want to find a way to quantify how entertaining any single game is. And not only do we want to quantify specific games, but also the teams that play them and even the stadiums that the games are played at. T20 may be the most entertaining brand of cricket, but who plays the most entertaining game of T20 and where are they playing it?

To answer these questions, we came up with the Big Bash Entertainment Index (BBEI) and we applied it to the Big Bash League.

How does the BBEI work?

The BBEI breaks the game of cricket down into all its individual action events, then applies a score to those events. That score is derived from the number of sub-actions required to perform that action event, and also the frequency at which it occurs in any given game.

In order to establish the latter, we crunched the numbers from all 35 games from Season 6 of the Big Bash League. From that, we were able to devise our algorithm. For example, a runout requires a delivery, a hit, a field, a throw, someone running and the wickets being smashed by the ball. There's a lot of entertainment going on in that one play. In Season 6, only 8% of all the wickets that fell were runouts, so a runout received more entertainment points than a wicket secured when a batter was bowled out, which involves only one sub-action (the delivery of the ball).

The action events we considered were: individual runs, fours, sixes, four-wicket (or more) hauls, fifties, hundreds, wickets, outfield catches and runouts. We also looked at other factors that add to how entertained you feel while watching a game of T20 cricket. For example, points were awarded for run rate, home victories, close games (defined as those decided in the last over) and atmosphere (defined as games that occurred in a stadium filled to at least 70% capacity). We also punished teams that did not play for the full 20 overs, therefore not offering fans the full value of their investment.

In total, we ended up with 14 markers that, when run through our algorithm, defined how entertaining a game of T20 cricket was. We then looked at the average score for these 14 markers across all games and established a score that was of average quality. This became the baseline for comparison and allowed us to definitively determine how entertaining a single game was compared to others in the Big Bash League.

We then took it a step further and broke games down into the individual teams playing and the stadiums that they played at. This allowed us to determine the entertainment value of not just a single game, but also a team or a stadium over the course of an entire season.

The future of the BBEI

The algorithm behind the Big Bash Entertainment Index is flexible. For our initial analysis, we are applying it to Australia’s Big Bash League and Women’s Big Bash League. It’s the right timing, with both competitions launching in December. Plus, finder is a sponsor of Network Ten’s Big Bash broadcast coverage, helping to bring the most entertaining brand of cricket into lounge rooms across the world.

We can and will apply the BBEI to other Leagues around the world in the future. We're even looking to adapt it to the One Day Internationals and the Test Matches. This will allow us to compare all forms of cricket and establish not just how entertaining they are as individual experiences, but also how entertaining they are compared to one another.

Read more about the Big Bash

Picture: Haley Jackson, licensed under Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 Generic (image cropped)

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