Introducing the New WFTDA Rankings Platform

With great thanks to Michael Watson of Rainy City Roller Derby, the WFTDA has been working to build a new and dynamic system to host rankings and game data, scheduled for initial release June 5, 2019. As we work towards this release date, we wanted to give you access to the new site, previews of the pages, and more over the next two weeks. We’ll be releasing a series of five introduction articles highlighting the work and the features we will be debuting in 2019 and beyond. Without further ado, here’s the first article in the series, written by Michael.

Over the past year, I’ve been working with WFTDA on something incredibly close to my heart, and it’s time to start showing off the work completed so far as we drift towards an initial launch. I’m head coach of Rainy City Roller Derby, a creative director, designer, and a web developer, and since I first became involved in the sport I have been obsessed with game stats, records, rankings and the history of the sport. I know how powerful great sports stats can be at creating a bigger narrative to the game, and ultimately how stats can empower and envigour fans to watch more games, to be more involved in the storylines of their favourite teams, and to help explain the sport to new attendees.

Roller Derby is a sport grown in the internet era, exploding around the world thanks to the sharing of content and ideas, and yet has fallen behind in terms of technology being able provide instant information and detailed analysis to its audience.

I had a vision to create a new, powerful stats resource that is primarily for fan engagement, a place where visitors can:

  • View Live Rankings
  • See the impact of game results on rankings, instantly
  • See historical records of all sanctioned games since the first sanctioned game, back in 2005
  • See upcoming games and tournaments with ease
  • View cool, sharable team stats

On top of this, I also knew there was another whole dimension to sports stats — player data. WFTDA is not short of player data information. The amazing Stats Books team has been archiving this information for years, and the data is intact but inaccessible. At present, simple information that would be wonderful to better fan engagement is simply missing from our world. Information such as:

  • Best jammer of the year
  • Clean overview information from each game, highlighting best performers
  • Most prolific player of the season
  • Penalty stats per season per league

I knew that player data would become a bigger undertaking than games and results, so we set out on a plan together to bring games and rankings data to the community first, in a new, universal stats system that is ready to be expanded upon in the future. A system that will one day house all key statistics for our amazing sport, all in one place.

Before work began, we made sure we had some key philosophical goals in place for the project:

  • Aim towards one central place for all WFTDA sports stats
  • Build in a way that’s expandable and adaptable for the future
  • Build a universal API alongside the system to allow for community developers to create using our data

So with a long term strategy and a clear initial goal in place, the long road through to getting the new website from a dream to a reality began. Over the course of the next series of articles I’ll be diving into some of the challenges I’ve faced along the way, some of the features that’ll be coming for the initial launch, and how WFTDA sanctioning and rankings works behind the scenes, and what we’ve had to change to make this a reality.

Introducting the New WFTDA Rankings and Stats Website - screenshots

Got more questions about the new WFTDA rankings platform? We’re hosting another Twitter AMA with Michael on Wednesday, May 22 at 2:00 p.m. EDT (7:00 p.m. BST, 11:00 a.m. PDT) live on the WFTDA twitter. Follow the hashtag #AskWFTDA to ask questions and join the conversation.