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StatSheet Taking On NFL With Bounty Of Statistics

For fans who love to crunch numbers – and those numbers are growing – good news on the NFL front: StatSheet today launched its “fully-automated, real-time coverage” of the league.

Following on the success of its number-crunching and analysis of college basketball and MLB, StatSheet said its NFL coverage will be powered by a database of billions of statistics and its “unique artificial intelligence technology.”

StatSheet, a subsidiary of Durham, NC-based Automated Insights, said that it converts a “rapidly growing data set of over two billion statistics into comprehensive and compelling coverage” of NCAA college basketball, MLB, and NFL, with college football being planned.

StatSheet’s NFL offering includes individual team sites, Web and mobile applications, Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and e-mail newsletters for all 32 NFL teams, as well as a league-wide Web site.

“We had a lot of success with both college basketball and MLB, but the fan base is definitely larger for NFL,” said founder and president Robbie Allen. “It should be fun to watch this season play out.”

StatSheet’s capabilities include game previews and game recaps with individual player grades for every game and every skill position. StatSheet’s “compare functionality” enables users to compare the strengths and weaknesses of any team or player while an “embed functionality” allows fans to integrate historical or real-time stats, charts and other graphical elements into their own Web sites or blogs.

With all the stats, though, certain human factors – is a guy playing harder in the last year of his contract, for example – are not factored in. Key injuries, however, are considered.

“Currently, our content doesn’t factor in qualitative aspects of the game,” said Allen. “We do take into account injuries. Our content is better at judging on the field performance and putting analysis in a historical perspective.  We’re also working on new article categories that are much different than traditional previews and recaps.”

Proprietary metrics such as StatSheet’s “Fan Satisfaction Index” provides a measure of how fans feel about their team at any point in the season. A StatSmack application enables fans to translate stats into trash-talking.

The company currently publishes more than 15,000 computer-generated articles per month through its network of 400-plus team-centric Web sites, mobile applications and Twitter and Facebook accounts.

As for its computer-generated articles, don’t look for personal insights or pithy quotes from players or coaches.

“By our estimates, over 70% of sports content is analyzing performance of one kind or another,” said Allen. “There’s quite a bit of coverage of what players and coaches say. I don’t think that’s lacking. But we will be incorporating Twitter commentary from the teams, players and coaches in the near future.”

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