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Power Grid FAQ

Welcome to SportsGrid!
If you’ve come to this page, you’ve probably got some questions about how we derive our rankings (oh, sweet curiosity!). This page explains how we created and update our Power Grid, why we think it works, and what we’re still trying to improve upon. If you are here because you feel that there is an error in our rankings, data, methodology, or assigned affiliations — or because we have made an obvious omission — please send us an email at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

What is the Power Grid?
It is an objective ranking of over 6,000 important athletes, owners, media figures, teams, and other categories in sports today, from the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA Football and Basketball, Golf, NASCAR, and the sports media world. Categories ranked on the grid include Players, Teams, Coaches, Owners, Executives, Writers, Announcers, Analysts, Radio Hosts, and Anchors. A comprehensive list of categories (and the specific metrics by which they are ranked) is given below.

Why isn’t it perfect?
We are very proud of this feature, but we know that the launch version is far from perfect. We imagine that there are a number of people of varying importance that we have overlooked. Also, not every sports figure fits perfectly into a given category, particularly in sports media. Job descriptions and titles vary even within the same parent company. In fact, some people are in more than one category. For some metrics, like print circulation or net worth, reasonable estimates were made.

Our logic and algorithms — what weight to give each entry (online buzz, traditional metrics, etc.) — are subject to constant attention and improvement. Of course, some of the nuance of the ratings will evolve over the next few weeks and months.

Why am I not on here?
We are still in process of adding people to the grid, but because of the enormity of this project, it’s very likely that we overlooked some people. In all likelihood, as soon as you tell us about someone who isn’t on the Grid (and should be), we’re going to be all like “Ohhhh man! How did we forget that guy/gal!”

If this is the case, we apologize for the oversight and promise to include missing entries soon. Let us know the error of our ways by sending us an email at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

What makes these rankings different?
Our proprietary algorithm combines the traditional metrics used for judging influence, such as Joe Mauer’s fantasy value (12th-highest in baseball), the amount of money the Dallas Cowboys are worth ($1.65 billion), and John Wall’s NBA draft stock (#1 overall), with less traditional metrics such as Kobe’s Bing hits (9.91 million), LeBron’s news mentions this week (7,963) and OchoCinco’s Twitter followers (902,894 as we’re writing this).

How do the rankings change?
Unlike other sports ranking systems, this system calibrates who’s being talked about the most right now. Imagine an under-the-radar NBA rookie comes out of nowhere to drop 55 points on Golden State, or an outspoken first-year NFL coach leads his team to the AFC championship. These individuals will move up the influence charts shortly after their faces, voices or bylines appear in the media. Most important, each category has a different algorithm depending on what are the most important factors for that group.

For example: NBA Coaches are ranked based on, among other things, their team’s performance and how often they are written about. On the other hand, we use print circulation, online unique visitors, and online buzz for sports writers.

We expect each category to be updated weekly, though the online buzz metrics are updated on individual, and continuing basis.

GAAAAAHHHH WHERE IS TIM TEBOW?!!?!
Relax, he’s right here.

So all of the rankings go up and down constantly, in real-time, based on ever-changing media and real-world developments?
We couldn’t have said it better ourselves!

How do we do it?
All of the information we use is available online, and we have numerous people here and around the world painstakingly entering every bit of data according to what we feel are the most recent and reputable sources. Every individual has several “Online Buzz” metrics, which are a combination of Bing search results, mentions in blogs (either through Technorati or Bing blog search) and Twitter followers. Because Twitter is still in a relatively early stage of adoption, we do not punish individuals who are not actively participating with the service. Rather, we reward (only slightly) those who have made an effort to participate in Twitter and have an active set of followers.

Is on-the-field performance factored in as well?
Yes. Our friends at Rotowire provide us with unique Performance Value Ratings (PVR) for the top players in each league. PVR is a composite ranking of the player’s current statistical output, their current and future fantasy value, and their average draft position in fantasy leagues. Please note: PVR is NOT a weekly start/sit guide to fantasy sports – that information can be found on their website.

What about other traditional metrics?
We are using self-published figures such as ratings from Nielsen, team valuations from Forbes, and merchandise sales data from eBay. Are all of these numbers exact? Probably not. But we feel confident that it is as good an effort at ranking as anyone has attempted. As we grow, we expect a constant flow of communication from individuals and the franchises for whom they work to make the data more exact — it is in the best interest of franchises, athletes, and sports media figures, after all, to provide accurate information.

Are the rankings based on current buzz? What role does historical success play in the power grid?
The metrics used are effected by historical popularity, current performance and buzz, or a mix of both. While historical success effects certain metrics (there are more websites dedicated to the Yankees than the Rays, thus, more web search results), other metrics have more to do with a team’s current performance (if the Rays suddenly catch fire, then more writers and websites do articles on them, which improves their news buzz). Overall, the rankings tend to skew more towards current performance and buzz metrics, such as PVR, TV Airtime, and News Buzz (for a full explanation of metrics, see below).

What is the Hype Index?
The Hype Index – which is a separate feature from the hype meter found on athletes’ profile pages – ranks the most-hyped athletes and members of the media in the world of sports. It has nothing to do with traditional markers of performance like statistics or fantasy value – it is pure, unadulterated hype.

Whereas the Power Grid factors in on-the-field performance for player rankings, job performance for coach, exec, and owner rankings, and readership, online visitors, and TV show buzz for members of the media, the hype index simply catalogs the most-talked-about figures in sports.

The hype meter, on the other hand, ranks the buzz surrounding an athlete relative to their performance. It can be found on the player’s profile page, under their overall ranking.

What do the arrows mean?
Green up arrows appear next to someone’s photo when he or she has recently risen in the rankings. Red down arrows appear when he or she has recently fallen in the rankings. Grey sideways arrows appear when the person’s rank has remained unchanged for more than a day. Come on, you’re better than this question!

Note that a person can rise (or fall) in the rankings even if his or her underlying metrics remain unchanged, provided that someone who used to be above him or her has taken a tumble or someone who used to be below him or her has shot up.

Categories

Players are professional and collegiate athletes in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA Football, NCAA Basketball, Golfers in the PGA, and Drivers in NASCAR. We’ve gone to great lengths to compile a nearly-complete database of current pro athletes, but with college athletes we’re only tracking elite players (at least at first). Player rankings are determined by the Rotowire Player Value Rating (PVR), number of mentions in recent news articles, number of web search results, the number of mentions on sports blogs, and number of twitter followers (if applicable). We’re currently working on implementing TV airtime and jersey/merchandise sales into the rankings for athletes.

Teams are professional and collegiate sports teams in the NFL, NBA, MLB, NCAA Football and Basketball, and NASCAR. Their rankings are determined by the team’s PVR (see below), and search, blog, and news buzz on Bing.

Coaches currently applies to head coaches and managers in the NFL, NBA, MLB, and NCAA Football and Basketball, although assistants will be added in the future. A coach’s ranking is determined by his or her team’s PVR, the TV airtime the coach garners, and the number of search, blog, and news results when you search for the coach on Bing.

Owners are those that hold a significant stake in an NFL, NBA, or MLB franchise; “significance” is determined according to the size of their stake, their actual involvement with the team’s business, and their visibility as team owners. Their rankings are determined by his or her team’s PVR, the monetary valuation of the team according to Forbes SportsMoney, the TV airtime the owner garners, and the number of search, blog, and news results when you search for him or her on Bing.

Team Executives are the major players in the front offices of NFL, NBA and MLB franchises. Their rankings are determined by his or her team’s PVR, and the number of search, blog, and news results when you search for the executive on Bing.

Athletic Directors are in charge of the top athletic programs from around the country. Most major sports programs have both a football team and a basketball team, in which case the most recently in-season sport is used to measure on-field success. In addition to the team PVR, Athletic Director rankings are determined by the amount of TV airtime he or she garners, and the number of search, blog, and news results for that AD on Bing.

TV Analysts and Hosts are people who appear on highlight shows, pregame, and postgame shows to host, offer in-depth analysis, or report on a specific sport or topic. This applies to what Ernie Johnson does on Inside the NBA, what Barry Melrose does on SportsCenter, and what John Clayton does on Monday Night Countdown. Basically, it’s anyone who talks about sports on TV (and isn’t an anchor or announcer – they get their own categories). Their rankings are determined by TV airtime, their search, blog, and news buzz on Bing, number of twitter followers (if applicable), and their TV show’s buzz on the web (see below).

Radio Hosts are radio personalities that host nationally syndicated and local radio shows. The vast majority of the radio hosts in our database host shows during morning, afternoon, or drive-time hours, and are associated with some of the biggest radio stations in the country – think Mike and Mike, Jim Rome, Glenn Ordway, Mike Francesa, and George Dunham. Their rankings are based on radio show buzz according to Bing, web search, blog, and news buzz for the hosts themselves, and number of Twitter followers (if applicable). Although we tried to include the biggest and best radio personalities from across the nation, this category, more than any other, is a work in progress. If we overlooked someone who you believe should be on the power grid, please email us at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

Print and Online Writers are sports writers who work for magazines, newspapers, websites and/or blogs. Their rankings are based on web search, blog, and news buzz on Bing, online unique visitors to their publication’s website, the print circulation of their associated magazines and/or newspapers (if applicable), their Technorati buzz, their number of Twitter followers (if applicable), and their affiliate web buzz. Much like the radio hosts, and many of our other categories, this database is a work in progress. If your favorite writer isn’t on SportsGrid, and you think he or she deserves to be, email us at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

Regarding the “Online Unique Visitors” Metric: Our online unique stats are culled from internet data sources like Compete, Quantcast, and Comscore, and represent estimations as to the total monthly unique visitors that a website brings in. If you feel as if a website has been underrepresented, email us at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

TV and Radio Announcers are play-by-play and color commentators for TV and radio sports broadcasts. Think Marv Albert, Al Michaels, John Sterling, and Cris Collinsworth. Their rankings are determined by TV airtime, their search, blog, and news buzz on Bing, and number of twitter followers (if applicable). If you think we missed someone, please email us at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

Sports Anchors are hosts of sports highlight shows, and also include sports anchors from local news affiliates throughout the country. Think Scott Van Pelt, Linda Cohn, Matt Morrison and Bruce Beck. Their rankings are determined by TV airtime, the amount of Bing buzz for their highlight show, their search, blog, and news buzz on Bing, and number of twitter followers (if applicable). If you think we missed someone, please email us at powergrid@sportsgrid.com.

The Hype Index includes players, coaches, owners, analysts, writers, announcers – anyone who is on the Power Grid. Unlike the Power Grid, however, traditional metrics aren’t used. Instead, we use our web buzz metrics (Bing, news, and blog search results for a given individual) to rank the most-hyped individuals in the world of sports.

Metrics

Performance Value Rating (PVR) – This metric ranks an individual’s on-field performance based on data compiled by RotoWire, and is updated weekly. Each player is given a rating – for the NBA, MLB, NASCAR, Golf, and College Basketball. Unfortunately, we currently only do PVR for offensive players in pro and college football (most fantasy leagues only track offensive players). Defensive player value ratings for the NFL are coming soon.

The PVR is a composite ranking of the player’s current statistical output, their current and future fantasy value, and their average draft position in fantasy leagues. Please note: PVR is NOT a weekly start/sit guide to fantasy sports – that information can be found on the Rotowire website.

Team Performance Value Rating (TPVR) – This metric rates a team’s on-field performance based on data compiled by SportsGrid, and is updated weekly. The rating is based on the team’s statistical output for the prior week, as well as a composite score based on power rankings from SportsGrid’s editors and around the web.

Conference Performance Value Rating (CPVR) – This metric rates college football and basketball conferences based on data compiled by SportsGrid, and is updated weekly. The rating is based on the strength of the teams in the conference, as well as a composite score based on power rankings from SportsGrid’s editors and around the web.

Bing Web Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing search of an individual or team’s name. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named individuals, are filtered out. For instance, the Bing search metric for James Brown, the host of CBS’ NFL Today, filters out search results for James Brown, the godfather of soul.

Blog Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing blog search of an individual or team’s name. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named individuals, are filtered out.

News Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing news search of an individual or team’s name. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named individuals, are filtered out.

Jersey and Merchandise Sales – This metric, which we hope to implement soon, is the number of relevant hits yielded by an Ebay search of an individual or team’s name over the course of the past month. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named individuals, are filtered out.

Team Valuation – This metric is Forbes’ estimated monetary value of each professional sports franchise. Please visit Forbes SportsMoney for the complete list.

TV Airtime (through TVEyes) – This metric is the total number of times an individual appears or is mentioned on air in the previous week on a selection of U.S. cable channels, local network affiliates, and international television news operations. These statistics are reported by the media monitoring service TVEyes.

Twitter Followers – This metric is an individual’s total number of Twitter followers, if applicable (individuals who do not use Twitter will not be penalized).

Projected Draft Selection – This metric is the projected draft selection of a college athlete in the NFL or NBA draft. It is a composite score of mock drafts from across the web, compiled by SportsGrid.

Recruitment Ranking – This metric measures the ability of colleges to recruit top high school prospects during the current or most recent recruiting season.

Technorati – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Technorati search of an individual’s name.

Print Circulation – This metric can be one of two things. For newspapers, this metric is the total average paid circulation per week. For magazines, this metric is the total paid and verified circulation per issue.

Unique Online Visitors – This metric is the estimated number of visitors to an online publication’s website in the past month, as determined by the online reporting sites likeCompete, Quantcast, and Comscore.

TV Show Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing search of an individual’s associated TV show. If an individual is on more then one show, then only the most popular show is counted. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named results, are filtered out.

Radio Show Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing search of an individual’s associated radio show. If an individual is on more then one show, then only the most popular show is counted. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named results, are filtered out.

Publication Buzz – This metric is the number of relevant hits yielded by a Bing search of an individual’s associated publication. If an individual writes for more than one publication, then only the most popular publication is counted. Irrelevant hits, such as those for similarly-named results, are filtered out.

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