The World Cup is about to start, so, unsurprisingly, football is in the news a lot and I have noticed the publication of quite a bit of dataviz relating to sport in general, and football in particular.
First, the Guardian’s great Datablog has a series of quick charts on the statistics of the different teams.
Top and bottom five by average team age (not age by players where the oldest is 43 and the youngest is 18):
The oldest teams are in Latin America and the youngest two are in Africa but the spread is pretty narrow (about three years).
Top and bottom five by caps:
Spain won in 2010, so, it kinda makes sense that they would use experienced players. However, France, for instance (we all remember their great “performance” in 2010) has a comparatively low number of caps for a country that won 16 years ago and was finalist after that. Maybe there’s a generational change at work. I am surprised that Japan would rank so high. Japan is not a big football team on the international scene. Or maybe there is a limited pool of players, so, they get to accumulate more caps.
Top 10 by number of international goals:
The top three are really not surprising at all. In number of goals, Spain and Germany completely outclass every other team. But where are Brazil, Argentina, or Italy?
Clubs with 10 or more players in the World Cup:
No surprise here either. It is the Big teams (those that can afford these kinds of players) that top the list. Note the large representation of the English Premier League. Speaking of which…
Leagues with the most players featured:
The wealthy leagues top the list. Again, no surprise here.
Top and bottom teams with players based in home country:
We know the big leagues extract players out of other countries (especially African countries). That’s another resource flow from the periphery to the core.
But football is a global sport and the migration of players outside their own countries during regular season is also well illustrated by this dataviz (I’ll put the ginormous but interesting version below the fold) by the Pew Research Center:
But sports also involve spectatorship and the Economist has done some data work on that as well:
Even though, the US tops the list with attendance figures for the NFL, that is a relatively small percentage of the population. Surprisingly (at least, for me) is the largest percentage that goes to the Australian football league. Also note that Canada is counted with the US except for football. One could argue that the US has three popular sports (football, baseball, and basketball, then, to a smaller extent, hockey) where other countries tend to have one largely dominant sport (often football).