There’s an appetite for women’s sports – and the data shows it.
This past year, ESPN’s women’s college basketball, volleyball, lacrosse and softball coverage received major ratings increases year-over-year, or furthermore, hit record highs.
Fans want more women’s-centric content and ESPN is committed to providing it.
Insert: ESPN’s most advanced WNBA Basketball Power Index (BPI) to date. Provided by the ESPN Sports Analytics team, WNBA BPI provides the starting point for live-win probability on GameCast pages at ESPN.com. The updated WNBA BPI allows fans to see specific ratings ahead of the season because of access to prior data. In addition, fans now have access to season predictions and current updates, with plans to incorporate matchup predictor modules in the future to support pregame winning probabilities.
While celebrating the 50th anniversary year of Title IX, ESPN Sports Analytics Developer Lauren Poe explains what the WNBA BPI can do for fans and how much it means to be the one leading the project from start to finish.
The extensive work put into this project peaks at the right time as the AT&T WNBA All-Star 2022 takes place this weekend on Sunday, July 10, at 1:00 p.m. ET on ESPN. The Skills Challenge and 3-Point Contest occur the day before, Saturday, July 9, at 3:00 p.m. ET on ESPN.
What does it mean to you, and what does it say about the company to take this step and bring BPI to women’s sports, in particular the WNBA?
The new thing this year is that this version of our WNBA BPI is one that includes prior data so that we can provide ratings ahead of the season. Our previous versions of WNBA and even NCAAW BPI required time before the data was useful.
As one of a few women in the math program in school, I was discouraged quite a bit by advisers or professors when getting my degree. So it’s an incredibly gratifying feeling to go from feeling like I’d never make contributions in this field to bringing such an important program to life.
Why did ESPN decide to do WNBA BPI?
Analytics for women’s sports is overdue, but I’m hopeful this project shows the appetite there is for WNBA advanced metrics and opens the door for us to do more of this work, in addition to other leagues and sports, in the future.
What has been the most rewarding part of the process of building this out?
The most rewarding part of this project was owning it from conception to release. I’ve learned a lot from our incredible team, and from this, I’m hoping to build upon our suite of WNBA metrics.
Who does the BPI have winning the WNBA title?
BPI gives the Connecticut Sun a 34 percent chance to win the title, followed by the Las Vegas Aces at 23 percent and Chicago Sky at 19 percent.