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Weekly Roundup 05.26.2024

Hello, howdy and good day to you fine and intrepid readers.


As the French Open gets underway, the red and blue sides of Manchester met to contest the final of the 2024 FA Cup yesterday. Somewhat against expectations, Manchester United (the red side) ran out the deserved victors. Despite winning the league on the final day, you could make an argument that Manchester City's season has ended on a slightly flat note.


In contrast, there's been some very bright #SportsVizSunday visualisations over the last week. So let's dive in!


To kick off this week is Alex Varlamov's ternary plot combined with a density plot. I really like ternary plots - essentially a scatter plot but with three axis to compare instead of two - and they can really increase the amount of information on a visualisation. Alex has cleverly turned the underlying data into a density plot to make it easier to see the distribution of points in the plot too. There's a great option to be able to turn on dots to show the matches too which is a great way to be able to understand how the density plots work. Great viz!


Next up, Anastasiya has looked at the distribution of drivers' points scored in each Formula 1 season. I remember how dominant Vettel felt when he was winning races for Red Bull but Verstappen was on another level last year! It's also interesting to see how the different teams have fared too. Ferrari look like they have been getting similar points each season regardless of who is racing but McLaren have really faded. Very insightful!


Turning to a completely different type of racing and Mark D has looked at the last 100 years of the Palio - a key part of annual life in the Italian city of Siena. In the Palio, city districts race against each other for prestige. Mark has done a wonderful job highlighting which districts are generally successful, but the highlight is his focus on the factors that affect who wins the race. Mark has nicely explained how the experience of the jockeys and horses makes a massive difference to who wins. He also utilises the interactive features of Tableau well too. Worth a read, for sure!


With the end of the Premier League season, Zak Saucede has come up with an innovative way of showing the gaps and clusters in finishing points. I this is a great way of looking at it and it makes it really easy to see the clusters while also being able to understand the sense of scale for the points difference. There's also a great "text adventure" feel to the design which elevates it and is a reminder that use of text is a key element of design too.


Manny Fajemilua has created his first #SportsVizSunday entry (congratulations Manny!). This viz is absolutely stacked with information about what it takes to win the Premier League. You can see how the last decade or so has really changed the face of football - the squad values have increased markedly but the points gap between the teams in the top 4 and the champions have kept a similar pattern. There's also been a surprising regularity of teams in second being fairly close, which I hadn't really noticed from just being a fan. Keep it up Manny. I look forward to seeing what you do next!


Sticking with football, Luke Donovan has done a deep dive into West Ham's performance this season. It has been a bit of a mixed season for West Ham but I was surprised to see how relatively poor their defensive and attacking stats were given that they finished 9th overall. Perhaps they were peculiarly efficient - alternating between losing heavily and winning narrowly? Either way, Luke has done a stand out job here of presenting all the data in a really easy to read format and his design is great. I really like how his colour scheme has reflected the colours of the West Ham badge, and the use of club logos on the graphs is a great touch for readability.


A regular of these pages, Aakarsh has returned with a beautiful visualisation looking at Grand Slam winners in tennis. Aakarsh's soft design style is incredibly engaging and their use of yellow & blue highlight colours is remarkable effective. The standout part is the radial scatter showing performance in the Grand Slams through time. Given that the French Open is starting, I filtered it to Nadal and was surprised to see that he had played a few doubles tournaments in the earlier part of his career. Although this is unusual for modern players, Aakarsh's viz makes it easy to compare this against previous generations of elite Slam winners who would often win doubles tournaments too.


Fresh from his IronViz 2024 win, Chris Westlake looked at the last day of a different Premiership - the Rugby Premiership. By choosing to show all the games on the same timeline, Chris has made it easy to show how the league table changed in real time as different teams scored. I particularly like how he has highlighted point scoring elements with appropriate emojis for each team too. Very playful!


Last but not least for visualisations this week, Vivek has used Python to explore the expected goals scored & conceded by each of the champions of the top 5 football leagues in Europe. I felt that Manchester City conceded more goals this season but they were still broadly in line with the other champions. Things got a bit tighter for PSG though who ended the season conceding more chances while creating fewer chances.


Actually last, but still definitely not least, CJ Mayes has interviewed Rob Taylor about his adventures visualising rugby data. This is a great read as Rob talks about his involvement with the Tableau #DataFam community, the tools that he uses, and where he gets his inspiration. I'm a big fan of Rob's work and it was great to get a peek into his mind.


Have a great weekend folks (and to those in England and Wales, I hope you enjoy the bank holiday).


Mo & the #SportsVizSunday team.

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