Thursday, March 12, 2009

WSJ Sports Page: Dartboard Economics, With Unsurprising Results

The Wall Street Journal has spent the last week or so trumpeting its new Sports page, located on the back page of the fourth section, "Personal Journal". Sports gets prominent placement above the masthead so the business person won't miss this new part of the fluffiest section of the newspaper.

The new sports page usually consists of one big article, a single column of random crap called "Heard on the Field" (get it? Kinda like "Heard on the Street"), and a big quarter-page section at the bottom called "The Count," which goes through a bunch of numbers. Core to this bottom section is a sidebar box called "Today's Game Predictions, Powered by AccuScore."

Well, AccuScore may need to change its name to "Semi-AccuScore", as its predictive value is pretty questionable, to say the least. Tuesday's paper listed 20 games, scattered across the NBA, NCAA Men's BB, and NHL. Of the 20 predicted winners, the WSJ got only a pedestrian 60% (12) correct. One might get better luck flipping a coin.

The WSJ seemed to be worst at picking NBA scores (missing three of five possible outcomes). It also missed two of eight NHL scores and three of seven NCAA men's BB scores (incorrectly picking 16th ranked Butler over Cleveland State, Cincinnati over DePaul, and Georgetown over St. John's).

Past performance is no guarantee of future results, indeed. I'll stick to horse racing.