Monday, August 26, 2013

Rethinking Reporting of Ultimate Scores

Ultimate is a dynamic sport that deserves an equally compelling method of reporting game scores. 

Think about the final score of an ultimate game: winning team, final tally, and (with some math) margin of victory. By itself, the final game score is a mere snapshot of the game and lacks any real context. The sports norm is reporting just the final scores; however, ULTIMATE IS BETTER THAN 2 NUMBERS SEPARATED BY PUNCTUATION!

Our sport of ultimate is often compared to other sports, but that should not dictate our need to follow the template of team sports. Here's an opportunity for ultimate to take the lead on how game scores are reported. Ultimate should become the paragon (yes - the paragon!) of athletic score reporting.

Data collection for tracking game points and player stats [examples: LeaguevineUltiapps, et al] are valuable to grasp trends, rises, falls, and ties during the evolution of the match. Let's not hide those delicious data morsels, let's share them. Moreover, I would argue that expanding score reporting may be an approach to reach out to a larger audience (more fans!), and/or be more attractive to sports broadcasting channels (more exposure!).

Improvement Options
For ultimate games played to a point cap, consider one of these slight improvements to basic final score reporting. Besides knowing the winner/loser & final score, this provides valuable details at specific benchmarks of the Ultimate game.

1. Post the final score and supplement with the halftime status:
CURRENT: Win 15-13 /or/ Win 15:13

IMPROVED: Win 15-13 (5-8) /or/ Win 15:13 (5:8)

2. Report in 3 game segments; after the 5th, 10th & final points are scored:
CURRENT: Win 15-11 /or/ Win 15:11

IMPROVED: Win; 5-3, 9-10, 15-11. /or/ Win; 5:3, 9:10, 15:11.

3. Expand the summary of final score reporting [see twitter example]:
CURRENT: Win 15-12 /or/ Win 15:12.

"scoRECAP": 0-0, 2-0, 2-1, 6-2, 7-4, 8-5, 11-5, 13-6, 14-11, win 15-12.
/or/ 0's, 2:0, 2:1, 6:2, 7:4, 8:5, 11:5, 13:6, 14:11, win 15:12.

Ultimate games with timed quarters (e.g. pro leagues), should adopt a quarter-by-quarter summary to their final score reporting. An element of score reporting time-driven matches (basketball, football, hockey) is following their advancement, so it's an obvious fit.


Our current system of score reporting is too simple and is not reflective of the dynamic nature of our sport. I ask all ultimate players, teams, leagues, tournaments, organizations to consider these improvements in order to collectively progress the ultimate sport by using a supplemental reporting of scores. 


Anonymous said...

heartily agree!

make sure you forward this to USAU ASAP as they are developing a new score reporting system

dusty.rhodes said...

Clarity w/r/t to which team can help also. Rather than:

DC wins over TX, 15-11


DC 15-11 TX

Rather than:

DC wins over TX, 5-3, 9-10, 15-11


05 | 03
09 | 10
15 | 11


02 | 03 Q1
03 | 03 Q2
06 | 04 Q3
05 | 05 Q4
16 | 15 Fin

using a consistent template creates a more informative reading experience over time, and helps include more data into fewer characters. Line breaks are your friend and visual self-similarity helps minds.