This season, after years of loyalty to the BBC/Channel 4 fantasy football competition, I’ve switched to The Guardian’s. Their game takes advantage of the reams of player data now available to newspapers – not just goals scored, clean sheets and assists, but also clearances, interceptions, tackles, shots on target, and so on, making for a very different challenge indeed.
The move mirrors that made by The Telegraph a year ago when they introduced a Flash element to their match reports that allowed you to look at an incredible range of match statistics. As I wrote at the time: it’s like having your own ProZone.
What’s all this got to do with the future of news? This: data. It’s one of the few advantages that news organisations have, and they should be doing more with it. What the Guardian fantasy football and the Telegraph demonstrate is the flexibility of that data.
And if we can do it in sport, why aren’t we doing it more elsewhere? Schools tables, pollution records, crime data, geotagged information, and election results are just a few that spring to mind – can you add some more?
For a good example of a particularly creative use of data (again with a sport twist), see Channel 4’s alternative Olympics medals table, which matches medals results against various other country stats, such as human rights record.
Oh, and by the way, if you want to join my fantasy football friends’ league, search for Game 39 – or just post a comment below…