Posts Tagged 'stats'

Availability of Free NFL Statistics

As I’ve been trying to work on my program which parses an NFL.com box score, I have to wonder why there is such a paucity of usable statistics, in not only the NFL but other professional sports leagues. Sure there are stats out there, but it seems to be an either/or choice in terms of either comprehensiveness and timeliness (i.e. nfl.com’s stats) or ease of use and downloadability (i.e. the csv files at pro-football-reference.com). Now I can understand why a site like ESPN or SI.com wouldn’t be able to make the stats it shows available for download, since it gets them from the stats conglomerate stats.com. However, the NFL shouldn’t have any legal qualms about making their stats available for download. So you have to wonder what is stopping the NFL from doing this.

Is it an issue of time spent to put them in a format available to download, or a question of technical server demands? I highly doubt it. Is it pressure from companies like Stats Inc. wanting to maintain a quasi-monopoly on the market? Probably not? The most likely reason is money. The NFL is probably trying to work on a way that they can make the stats available, but for a price. So, if the stats are easily accessible for free now, but at some point down the line they decide to make them available for a fee, they have just lost some money.

So if money is an issue, why not start making these stats available for a small fee to personal (non-commercial) use. Or attach a disclaimer that they can only be used for non-commercial use but sell a commercial license? On the surface there seems very little reason for the stats to be available on the site on separate pages for free, but no database dump available for download.