7:30 AM

Ekstraklasa Patterns 1994-2015

This piece on the Ekstraklasa, the top level of Polish football (soccer) is being created as a companion piece to my upcoming presentation at the Data+ conference in Warsaw at the end of November 2015. Within this story, data will be used to illustrate many of the patterns within the league over the last 21 seasons, from the 1994-95 campaign through the 2014-15 season. We will tell several different stories using this data, which is found on the us.soccerway.com website.

Before we begin, let's pause to consider a number of possible storylines we could pursue using the data. The following paragraphs highlight just a few of the many possibilities.

One simple storyline might be to explore the number of seasons per team over this 21-year period. Unlike many sports, soccer has a system where poor-performing teams are subject to demotion to a lower level of competition. It might prove interesting to understand which teams were present for all 21 seasons (if any), versus those teams that ascended to this level for only a few seasons. Another facet of this story could be to highlight teams that no longer exist, for financial or other business reasons.

Another angle might look at some of the more common metrics involved in determining success (or failure). In this dataset, we have a number of critical measures readily available, ranging from points per season to wins, draws, losses, goals scored and allowed, and rank. These can be examined within individual seasons, or as an aggregate over the 21-year period.

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