Friday, February 5

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Friday Q & A

Q: Is there really only one Streakmaster?

We love the game here at HQ, but nobody is that insane! There are two primary SMs who handle the lion's share of the administrative duties. There's also a sizable team of programmers and engineers who work on the game as well.

Q: How do you decide on which sporting events to use?

There are many different factors of varying importance. In rough order, they are:

- Odds are close to even for either side
- Event is of interest to a lot of sports fans
- Sporting event fills a good time slot
- Event is shown live on television or ESPN360
- If not on TV, event is easy to keep track of over the internet
- Is it a different sport we can use to add flavor?

That's about it. This is only a rough guide; there are always exceptions. We don't want to completely overload time slots, so we won't have 12 options that all lock at 7 PM (the most common event starting time). If an event is being shown on everyone's favorite network, that'll give it a boost. For the NFL's regular season, we experimented with putting every game on the board in one fashion or another. And every now and then it's fun to put up a game that most people would never care about otherwise - and sometimes those games end up being the most exciting of the day, like the Niagara-Canisius game last Saturday.

Q: Are the matchups scored automatically or manually?

Both. You don't really think we have an automated feed for the Canadian Women's Curling Championships, do you? Not yet, anyway.

Q: Why do some of the lock times get moved, while others don't?

Some events don't have exact scheduled start times - for example, the third tennis match on a particular court, or the fifth MMA match on a fight card. Also, we'll move the times of some televised games later if we can be sure that we'll be able to lock them the moment they start.

Q: But isn't that unfair?

We don't think so. In general, we're trying to allow as many Streakers make as many plays as possible, which is what just about everyone wants.

Q: What about unlocking? Why do you unlock some games early, but not others, even if it's a blowout?

We unlock early for over/under propositions that go over, or similarly props of the type "longest TD", "earliest goal", etc. For a straight matchup, we don't unlock until the game is over no matter what the score. During the NFL season, we made a few exceptions for the "greater margin of victory" props, and there may be a couple other examples, but our philosophy is that we don't score a straight winner matchup until the game is over.

Q: I remember a game that was over for an hour and wasn't unlocked! And another time, a game unlocked at halftime! What's up with that?

Every now and then our automation has a hiccup. When that happens, we just play through it like a bad referee call. If you notice a game that has been over for a long time and still hasn't been finalized, feel free to post a comment on the blog Conversation page. If a game unlocks early, it stays unlocked, and the pick is retained, even if a Streaker then picks another matchup (which the Streaker gets credit for as well). Fortunately, this is very rare.

Q: What happens if a matchup is scored incorrectly?

It gets corrected. Sometimes it may take 3-5 minutes for technical reasons.

Q: I played a cricket match, and was locked for 8 hours! Is that fair?

It never hurts to know the rules of the sports you pick. Just be happy it wasn't a multi-day test match...

Q: What is the point of Streak?

To have fun. The money is nice also.