How data helps commentators tell a better sports story
- The really big breakthrough has come in just the past couple of years with live rider data provided by Dimension Data, collected from GPS trackers, along with Twitter postings and analysis.
- Rather than simply describing a sprint, we can now provide a different perspective by using visualisations of the last 500m in a way that compares the speeds of riders moment by moment.
“Now we have detailed information about all the riders for the entire stage.”
I’ve been a fan of the Tour de France for many years and a journalist covering the event for the past seven, and for me, there’s never enough information. As a teenager, I’d lie on the couch all day long, tuned into the race. I’d buy L’Équipe, the French sports newspaper, and I’d read all the stories. It listed the riders and their bib numbers, and with that information I’d try to identify them on TV, but it was difficult to follow what was happening. I also had my grandfather who still listened to the race on the radio as he had in the past. That’s what the experience was for me – my TV screen, my newspaper, and my grandfather standing nearby, telling me about the race.