Euroleague Basketball, in response to your recent article, would like to explain briefly how the competition operates on statistics.
Every club that participates in the Turkish Airlines Euroleague has its own stats crew of 3-5 people (5 are recommended) who track all of the actions live in the arena where the game is played. They use a computer with software developed by Euroleague Basketball.
We follow the games from our offices, in constant communication with our stats crews via instant messenger, ready to help them in case they need any assistance (technical or otherwise). We also closely monitor all game broadcasts through TV, as well as the play-by-play stats on our web page in order to survey their performance. If we detect any possible mistakes, we contact the stats crew via instant messenger and tell them what action should be reviewed at the earliest available opportunity (half time and the end of the game are the best moments for this).
As the box scores are published online immediately after the game, we do not have time to review every single action prior to this, and can only trust in the efficiency of the statisticians. We trust in the effectiveness of the statistics. There may be the odd error (mistakes are inevitable in any human activity), much like players missing shots in a game, however their performances tend to be of a very high standard. Anyone who has tried to track the statistics in a game live (not on DVD, with the Play, Pause, Rewind & Fast Forward buttons available) will know the difficulties a statistician finds in doing their job.
Three years ago Euroleague Basketball, FIBA World and FIBA Europe agreed to update and apply the new version of the FIBA Basketball Statisticians’ Manual that had been originally created several years prior by FIBA World. This way we all try to unify different criteria being applied in different competitions, leagues and federations, which is damaging for the game of basketball. A uniform criteria among all statisticians working under FIBA World rules is best for the sport and all its actors. As with any change of these magnitudes the implementation has not taken place over night. We did, do and will continue to encourage all federations, leagues and clubs from around Europe to follow the manual and to send their statisticians to annual workshops that are organized by Euroleague Basketball, FIBA World and FIBA Europe. This annual workshop includes all of the statisticians for Euroleague and Eurocup clubs, and is supplemented with an internet forum dedicated to the discussion and study of possible statistical situations where we emphasize the importance of taking care of the most problematic plays. Human mistakes remain unavoidable, but we are working to reduce them as much as possible. The improved results over recent years are very noticeable with few exceptions.
At Euroleague Basketball we recognise the importance of having a very good statistics crew, with unified criteria and with a reduced margin of error. As with many things in our competitions, we feel that work needs to be done to improve our services not only to fans but also to all of the professionals in the industry. We are open to discuss anything that help us improve our procedures in order to be able to reach the optimum level for all. We will keep working in the future to increase the accuracy in our official statistics.