How do you decide whether David Luiz is more influential than Wayne Rooney?
We’ve gathered a lot of data to help us calculate our Influencer Score. The biggest single factor as you would expect, social following across the three key networks, Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. These numbers by themselves take quite a bit of work to collect and collate, just picture a rank of server cabinets, rows and rows of little green, red and blue lights blinking away, stretching away into darkness.
On those machines we store the data we are continually collecting from various API services or scraping out of the interweb, looking for patterns and identifying trends. That’s great, we know, but if we stopped there we would be ignoring loads of other important stuff, a bundle of statistics and factors that we like to call footbalistics. As lovers of the game ourselves we like to think we know a little bit about the big beasts of the sport, how they achieve seniority and status through their participation in national and regional tournaments with their club, how they shine or otherwise on the international stage and how, just sometimes, the stars align for them and they participate in those moments that create footballing history.
We’re bringing all of those factors into our proprietary algorithm, starting with measures of popularity and then layering on the tricky stuff, we decide on the relative importance of an international debut when compared to a winning streak at club level – we turn them into numbers. We assess the impact of injuries or bookings on the current and future effectiveness of the individual involved – we turn them into numbers. Sponsorship deals will usually increase a player’s influence while an expose in the tabloid press will probably work in the other direction.
Our algorithm eats, breathes and sleeps the Premier League and is constantly polling our sources of data to ensure our Sportstar Index is reflective of what’s happening right now. We regularly compare our rankings to other informed sources and route to unearth difference of opinion with updates to our decision-making code.
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