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Sports Data Scientist

Apply NowApply Later Job ID 988005BR Location Bristol, Connecticut, United States Business ESPN Date posted Jun. 09, 2022 Flex Type Hybrid

- This role is considered hybrid, which means the employee will work a portion of their time on-site from a Company designated location and the remainder of their time remotely.

Job Summary:

The ESPN Sports Analytics team is a multidisciplinary group within Business Development & Innovation where all members have a deep knowledge of sports, statistics, databases, coding, and storytelling. Combining best-in-the-industry data with advanced mathematics and statistical modeling skills, Sports Analytics has created storytelling tools and metrics that have improved the evaluation of team and player performance, such as Total QBR and power ratings for NFL, NBA, college football and college basketball. These products make fans better informed and help keep ESPN at the cutting edge of sports statistical analysis.

The Sports Data Scientist will be the lead architect in designing team and player performance metrics and their underlying framework. The Sports Data Scientist will work with the Analytics leadership team to define project timelines and delegate duties, as well as assisting in evaluating potential projects. The incumbent must demonstrate critical thinking about the execution of the projects and keep Analytics leadership informed of progress. Completing work on deadlines is a crucial requirement. A portfolio of successful analytics projects and metrics is necessary to be considered for this position. The Sports Data Scientist will have the skills to partner with other data scientists and developers as well as Content teams and Technology and Digital Product staffers on projects. Candidates need to have a deep understanding of Bayesian statistics and a background in constructing predictive models and complex formulas that explore new areas of analytics, ideally in sports.

But the role of the Sports Data Scientist doesn’t end with the numbers. The person in this role will be required to turn this information into language that allows integration into storytelling across all ESPN platforms, including TV and digital. The Sports Data Scientist will tell stories in the most accurate way, using advanced analysis and matching the storytelling to the medium. Translating the complex into understandable language is a key component.

The Sports Data Scientist must demonstrate peer-to-peer leadership and the ability to have 1-2 direct reports, if necessary, and the incumbent must execute the requisite supervisory functions that entails.

Ideal candidates will possess the following traits:
  • Meticulous attention to detail in striving for 100 percent accuracy
  • The ability to thrive under deadlines
  • The ability to work both independently on a project with little supervision and as part of a team
  • Strong technical skills and the ability to understand ESPN’s data structure
  • Demonstrated excellence working with multiple departments to achieve a common goal
  • Strong verbal and presentation skills
  • Demonstrated ability to regularly produce ideas on areas of opportunity within performance analytics for ESPN


  • Use advanced mathematics and statistical modeling to develop sports performance metrics
  • Help set the direction of the department by partnering with Analytics leadership to set project priorities
  • Identify the key components in these complex statistics and turn them into language that allows them to be readily used in storytelling across ESPN platforms
  • Work collaboratively through conflicts and gain support from internal project partners and stakeholders with various interests and priorities
  • Support the department’s training plan by contributing to the education and integration of Sports Analytics storytelling tools to folks across ESPN
  • Collaborate with Analytics staffers and ESPN technology partners to write scripts, queries, and code to transform data into automated metrics across our digital platforms and internal research tools
  • Use strategic analytical approaches and techniques using data to answer sports questions

Basic Qualifications:

  • 5 years’ experience with sports analytics, or any equivalent combination of education and experience that provides the applicant with the knowledge, skills and ability to perform the job
  • 5 years’ experience constructing statistical models to explain or predict performance
  • 5 years’ experience in a programming language such as R or Python
  • Strong knowledge in using SQL to query and modify data from databases
  • A passion for sports and statistics; candidates need to have a working knowledge of players, teams and the rules of the games
  • Full availability for this position, which will include nights, weekends and holidays
  • Demonstrated ability to ensure accuracy of content
  • Effective communication and leadership skills
  • A thorough knowledge of sports statistical analysis in the marketplace
  • Strong sports knowledge, both historical and current

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Expert knowledge in at least one statistically relevant programming language, such as R or Python.
  • Demonstrated portfolio of predictive modeling experience in sports, particularly utilizing Bayesian regression.
  • Experience with machine learning or other artificial intelligence techniques.
  • Deep understanding of the all major sports and the current state of data therein.
  • Previously worked with and have a solid understanding of player tracking data within various sports.
  • Strong understanding of sports gambling and fantasy, particularly around predictive player and team performance.
  • Experience turning sports analytics into storylines

Required Education

  • College degree in statistics, engineering, mathematics, econometrics, or a related field

Preferred Education

  • Advanced college degree in statistics, engineering, mathematics, econometrics, or a related field

About ESPN:

Working at ESPN is unlike anything else. That’s because we’re always finding new ways to interact with fans – however and wherever they connect with sports. Every day we’re doing things that no one has done, all in a dynamic culture where we defy odds and continuously outdo ourselves. When you have the latest technology, game-changing ideas and world-class talent on your team, every day is extraordinary.

About The Walt Disney Company:

The Walt Disney Company, together with its subsidiaries and affiliates, is a leading diversified international family entertainment and media enterprise with the following business segments: media networks, parks and resorts, studio entertainment, consumer products and interactive media. From humble beginnings as a cartoon studio in the 1920s to its preeminent name in the entertainment industry today, Disney proudly continues its legacy of creating world-class stories and experiences for every member of the family. Disney’s stories, characters and experiences reach consumers and guests from every corner of the globe. With operations in more than 40 countries, our employees and cast members work together to create entertainment experiences that are both universally and locally cherished.

This position is with ESPN Productions, Inc., which is part of a business we call ESPN.

ESPN Productions, Inc. is an equal opportunity employer. Applicants will receive consideration for employment without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, sexual orientation, gender identity, disability or protected veteran status. Disney fosters a business culture where ideas and decisions from all people help us grow, innovate, create the best stories and be relevant in a rapidly changing world.

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