Picture source: www.baseball.com.au
INTERVIEW BY DAVID BRANT
Q&A WITH REBECCA LALLY AT ESPN
INDUSTRIAL ENGINEER – VOLUME 47 NUMBER 1
Rebecca Lally fulfilled her dream of breaking down the numbers behind most popular sports and teams for national TV at ESPN.
Q: Is your fascination with sports primarily about the games or the statistics behind them?
A: I had an obsession with numbers and patterns. I feel in love with sports when I began playing basketball. I recorded games in game books as I watched on television.
Q: When did you first realize that industrial engineering could be applied to sports analysis?
A: I had known since sixth grade that I wanted to go into sports statistics. I found industrial engineering and was reassured through my class topics that this could easily be applied to sports analytics.
Q: What was your primary role at ESPN?
A: I was a stats and analysis intern, and I focused on real-time data tracking for Major League Baseball as well as creating statistical-based stories for fans to consume. My daily responsibilities for baseball included updating the runs, hits and errors of a game. I was also in charge of monitoring the game for any potential top plays, home runs, injuries and ejections.
Q: Did you fell any added pressure analyzing data in a breaking news environment?
A: The amount of pressure I felt while at ESPN was a healthy amount; it didn’t make for a stressful environment but instead kept everyone focused and motivated.
Q: Are there some sports that are more difficult to analyze in real time than others?
A: Basketball and baseball are the most advanced in terms of metrics used to analyze games, with football following closely behind.