How Does Sport Score?

sport score

In sports, scoring is a method of determining the relative performance of one team against another. Scoring is usually measured in the unit of points, and events that occur in a game can raise or lower a team’s score. In sports with a fixed amount of time for each scoring period, the team that scores the most points wins.

Games with score

There are an enormous number of different ways to score in sport. Some sports, such as football and rugby, have a limited set of scoring options, while others, such as tennis, have a very rigid standard for the number of points that can be scored in a single match.

Scoring tempo

In most sports, the tempo of scoring events is remarkably well-described by a Poisson process with an event rate that is stable over gameplay but much lower in the first and last few seconds of a scoring period (Figure 3). The timing of events earlier in a game has little or no effect on the timing of future events.

Game balance

The scoring balance between teams – how often each team wins a particular scoring event – is well-described by a common Bernoulli process with a bias parameter that varies effectively over gameplay and across sports. Figure 4 shows the empirical distribution of the fraction cc of events won by each team, in each sport.

In all sports, the average number of scoring events per game is largely in agreement with the Poisson model. However, there is a slight discrepancy between the model and the data in CFB, NFL, and NBA games. These games produce fewer gaps of the minimum size than predicted by the model, suggesting that some events may take longer to transport to their next location.