We know the core fan base for women's soccer is passionate. Turnout though can greatly vary in size from some few thousands at an NWSL games to 50k or higher as seen by the newly formed Liga MX Femenil (Mexico) or England's Super League for their final games. And our minds are always on the staggering 750 million people who watched the Women's World Cup in 2015.
We want to grow the game, yet why are we seeing inconsistent numbers? What's one key difference? Lack of API's and data out there in the public domain. Baseball, Football, Basketball (both mens and women's) have API's available to give schedules and stats to third party websites big and small. A search for women's soccer? none.
Team member Denise Duffy, literally went to an 8 month coding bootcamp to learn how to build a site like Dribble. Imagine the disappointment when this love of the game collided with reality of not being able to find the same tools available in other sports?
When given the opportunity to do this hackathon, we formed a unit. Denise and a fellow bootcamp grad began coding together. From there on twitter we found a female google engineer who is so passionate about the NWSL that she goes in and corrects the background on the banners when someone searches for a team on the google search engine. Apparently the background banners used to turn up grey. She connected with the right person to fix them. We met another fellow through devpost who goes to the USWNT games and enjoys the team as much as the mens side.
We followed a vision. Make a WoSo app and make it interactive and fun. We believe that Dribble offers a good example of web site that can increase fan involvement and help to broaden the fan base.
What do we value in this project?
We value that fan engagement. We don't want a one way informational experience. We want our users to think, to form reasons. We think these will be the hooks into the WoSo world and into our app. We value women's soccer is world wide and will include numerous international leagues. We value that some WoSo fans are generally sports fans and that there is a market to cultivate the crossover fan. We value that there needs to be a place where some players and fans can make extra money selling goods and services that are women's soccer related. We value research, the exploration of data, and sentiment analysis to be cool in itself, yet also trigger business decisions. We've seen it in the past 24 hours. We value growing the game in awareness and financially We value women's soccer and as a team and guess what? We got up from the hackathon last night and went to the Chicago Red Stars game versus the Seattle Reign. We lived our passion and got to see Sam Kerr score.
What it is?
Dribble is a web-based fan interaction app. There are 5 sections.
Dribble - a fan interface to make predictions and review past Store - a place for players and other to sell services and goods Twitter - a place to discover team and writer's lists from around the world. (currently not deployed in this repo but can be seen in a reference link below) Wall - real time steam of current tweets on the USWNT, NWSL, and WoSo Game twitter sentiment analisis - Tweets collected over the course of a game are analyzed to see whether they were positive or negative and how strong the feelings are at different events in the match.
How we built it
We prepared for the challenge by forming a solid plan before the hackathon. This included wire frames of most of the screens and analysis of the sample data provided. We used Excel to do a frequency analysis and identify the events that would be most interesting for fan interaction.
Ruby on Rails was chosen for its ability to quickly go from model to prototype. We chose a fullpage.js interface that would work on multiple devices and screen sizes and people could swipe with their fingers and creating a fun physical experience. A data extraction engine was built with Python. We used as much actual game data as possible. Because ‘stats bomb’ data was freely available, we chose to import only from that data and not from the Opta data for this project. That way we could have an actual public deployment for the demo!
Besides game data, Twitter offers another soccer data stream. We have real-time sentiment analysis! =We captured data from a Red Stars game (that we attended) on the evening of the hackathon. When data was broken into buckets and compared to actual game events, the strongest negative feelings occurred when players were injured. A large peak of positive feelings immediately preceded a goal--suggesting that fans were picking up on the change in momentum. We notices that we might find certain peaks and troughs as optimal time to deploy our in-app messages to engage users with "Predictive" and "Reactive" user engagement prompts. These could be will the "Red Stars score in the next 5 minutes?" or "Two players just collided, was that a foul?"
Challenges we ran into
There are very few quality datasets and no women's soccer APIs that are freely available. Other sports (such as women's basketball) do have this.
Time. Although we had practiced making certain aspects of the website, some things we execute quick enough. Per the rules, we started from nothing. Although we had practiced the twitter lists area before the hackathon we did have time and priorities to execute it by today.
Accomplishments that we're proud of
We built a brand new thing, listening to all teammates ideas and expanded places for user interaction.
What we learned
The soccer data offers a rich opportunity for extending the reach of fan interest. It is possible to create compelling interfaces using even a small sample of game data. Game-related tweets when coupled with the game event data can be used to generate compelling new visuals and fan interactions.
What's next for Dribble
We believe Dribble demonstrates that new soccer user interfaces are possible without massive effort. A league could extend the app for actual use or we could do it without them as third party.