Popcorn Scores: Introduction

The purpose of the Popcorn Score is to potentially identify good matches to watch that you would not necessarily recognize on your own.  Of course we don’t need a stat to tell us we should watch Roger play Rafa.  But setting aside your personal favorites, sometimes it is not so obvious.   Enter the Popcorn Score to quantify which matches maybe you should be watching that you otherwise would not.

The Popcorn Score is focused on two primary concepts:  (1) the quality of the players in the match and (2) how competitive the match ought to be. The original formulation is here.

From that, we add bonuses of two types: (1) an elite bonus for players’ peak ranks, since certain players have star power but have fallen in the rankings due to injuries or other time away from the game, but still have tremendous popcorn appeal (e.g., Serena Williams 2018-19); and (2) an age bonus for the so-called NextGen types, who have popcorn appeal but may not have achieved enough to fully register in the base popcorn score. The formula for the age bonus is generally what I proposed in my blog post creating Prospect Popcorn Scores, except that I have not changed the weights of the popcorn components or any of the denominators when I blended the age bonus into the overall Popcorn Score.

Popcorn Scores for the ATP are here.

Popcorn Scores for the WTA are here.