This is some pretty awesome news for the nerdy sports fans of the world—I kind of include myself in that category, but I’m more excited about this for another reason. Nate Silver, a famed statistician who has had great success predicting presidential elections and also helped mold ESPN’s Soccer Power Index, is leaving the New York Times for ESPN. Silver’s FiveThirtyEight blog was licensed by the Times in 2010.
This October, I’ll be attending the Online News Association’s annual meeting in Atlanta where Silver will be speaking, so my excitement level to read his book, The Signal and the Noise, and hear him speak has just been blown through the roof.
Here’s part of the statement released by the NYT:
At ESPN, Mr. Silver is expected to have a wide-ranging portfolio. Along with his writing and number-crunching, he will most likely be a regular contributor to “Olbermann,” the late-night ESPN2 talk show hosted by Keith Olbermann that will have its debut at the end of August. In political years, he will also have a role at ABC News, which is owned by Disney.
An ESPN spokeswoman declined to comment on Friday night. Mr. Silver declined to comment. The employees, who spoke on the condition of anonymity, said that Mr. Silver’s deal could be announced as soon as Monday.
Before creating statistical models for elections, Mr. Silver was a baseball sabermetrician who built a highly effective system for projecting how players would perform in the future. For a time he was a managing partner of Baseball Prospectus.
At public events recently, he has expressed interest in covering sports more frequently, so the ESPN deal is a logical next step.
Good times will be had by all. Can’t wait for him to start!