Rules and Terms

NBA Basketball Analytics Hackathon 2016 (“Contest”) – Rules

This document serves as the official rules for the 2016 NBA Basketball Analytics Hackathon (“Hackathon”).  Please see below for eligibility rules, event rules, judging rules, and prize rules.


BINDING AGREEMENT: In order to enter the Contest, you must agree to these Official Rules (“Rules”). Therefore, please read these Rules prior to entry to ensure you understand and agree. You agree that submission of an entry in the Contest constitutes agreement to these Rules. You may not submit an entry to the Contest and are not eligible to receive the prizes described in these Rules unless you agree to these Rules. These Rules form a binding legal agreement between you and the National Basketball Association (“NBA”) with respect to the Contest.


The Hackathon is open to individuals who, when their application is received:

  1. Are eighteen years or older;
  2. Are full-time or part-time undergraduate or graduate students, who are actively participating in a degree-seeking program at an accredited university in the USA or Canada (excluding Quebec)

Employees, officers, directors, representatives and agents of the National Basketball Association (“Sponsor”), NBA Media Ventures, LLC, NBA Properties, Inc. (“NBAP”), and its member teams, and each of their respective parent companies, subsidiaries, affiliates, officers, governors, owners, distributors, retailers, advertising/promotion agencies and teamDigital Promotions, Inc. (“tD”) (collectively, “Released Parties”), and the immediate family members (parent, spouse, sibling or child and their respective spouses, regardless of where they reside) and those living in the same household of each, whether or not related, are not eligible to participate or win a prize. Contest is void where prohibited by law. Applicants who do not fulfill these requirements, including both age and student status, will not be eligible to participate in the Hackathon. Please note, at the event there will be personnel verifying the age of participants. Participation in the Hackathon constitutes each individual’s full and unconditional agreement to and acceptance of the Rules of the Hackathon.

Application Period and details

The Application Period begins at 5:00:00 P.M. Eastern Time (ET) on August 9, 2016 (“Application Period”). Applicants must complete the online application form available at in accordance with the instructions provided.

The registrants and their respective team with the best applications as evaluated by Contest organizers and judges will be invited to participate in the Hackathon.  Accepted applicants will be contacted by the NBA via the provided email address for logistics and next steps.

Contest Period: The Contest begins at 7:30:00 A.M. Eastern Time (ET) on September 24, 2016 and ends at 7:30:00 P.M. ET on September 24, 2016 (“Contest Period”).

Individual and Team Participation

Accepted participants have the option of competing either as an individual or in groups of up to four (4) people (collectively “Teams”).  Participants must compete in the team that was named on their registration form and originally accepted and may not simultaneously compete both as an individual and within a group.  There will be no switching teams.  The organizers of the Hackathon are not responsible for resolving any disputes between team members.  Participants are responsible for making their own travel and accommodation arrangements and for covering all associated costs and expenses, including travel to/from Terminal 23 and meals not provided by Sponsor at Hackathon. Teams should arrive no later than 8:00 AM at Terminal 23, 145 West 32nd Street, New York, NY, 10001 for the event.  The entire duration of the event will occur at Terminal 23.  Breakfast, lunch and dinner will be served.

Hackathon Event Rules

  1. Participants must select one of the research question options (provided on the day of the Hackathon) and build an analytically oriented solution using the provided data and their understanding of the National Basketball Association.
  2. Each participant must supply his/her own laptop.
  3. All work must be original.  Code used during the Hackathon must be written during the designated Contest Period.  Each submission (“Submission”) must be original, of the respective team and team members and must be their own creation and newly written during the Hackathon and must not have been entered in any other competition or program similar to the Hackathon.
    1. “Newly written” means that team members cannot in any way copy software code that already privately exists, and submit it as part of a submission. Submissions may be subject to a due diligence review at any time for eligibility and compliance with these Terms. Determination of eligibility and compliance is at the sole discretion of the judges and Hackathon organizers.  Teams will be disqualified if they do not comply with these Terms.
  4. We ask that you please do not use any pre-written proprietary programs or code. All software used by participants must be publicly and widely available (e.g. R, Python). Please reach out to the Hackathon organizational team with any questions.
  5. All entries, limited to one (1) entry per Team will be judged based on the Judging criteria outlined below to determine Five (5) Team finalists. After the (5) Team finalists have been determined they will have 30 minutes to develop a three minute presentation to deliver their solutions to the judges.
  6. Beginning at 6:30PM ET on September 24, 2016 the (5) Team finalists will deliver their solutions as assigned above and the judges will select the top (3) Team finalists based on the Judging criteria outlined below. The (3) Team Finalists will be announced at approximately 7:30PM ET on September 24, 2016 and will receive the Prizes outlined below.
  7. By participating in the Hackathon, you agree that all Submissions in their entirety, including, but not limited to, intellectual property (“IP”), including patents, including without limitation all systems and processes, including belief propagation systems, copyrights, including without limitation all application program interfaces, and all other forms of intellectual property, right, title,  source code, and methodologies will become property of and hereby assign the foregoing to NBAP without further consideration.  You also agree to abide by the above principles in the acceptance of any prize including in connection with the attendance of any NBA game in fulfillment of any prizing.
  8. Have fun and network with your fellow hackers!

Judging Criteria

Five (5) finalists will be selected based on the following criteria:

    1. Originality and creativity of analysis – 25%
    2. Strategic and practical implementation – 25%
    3. Replicability of analysis and organization of code – 25%
    4. Effective communication and summary of results – 15%
    5. Cohesive writing that clearly demonstrates results – 10%

Three (3) award winners will be judged from the finalists based on the following criteria:

    1. Quality of presentation – 25%
    2. Quality of slides – 15%
    3. Results and methods – 30%
    4. Accuracy of results – 30%

Submission Guidelines

  1. All Submissions must be turned in prior to 5:15 PM on September 24, 2016. Submissions must be emailed to with the subject line “[TEAM NAME] Submission for NBA Hackathon 2016”.  Submissions must include the following:
    1. A PDF/HTML document containing a final solution to the selected question, OR a web/mobile application (link or instructions to run it must be included) accompanied by a README PDF/HTML document. Documents should include:
      1. Methods used
      2. A use case of the solution
      3. Further research
      4. Other interesting aspects of the solution
    2. Fully cleaned and commented code
    3. A four slide slideshow for presentation to use if selected as a finalist (template to be provided by the NBA).
      1. Finalists will not be able to use anything beyond the submitted PowerPoint during presentations. If you would like to demo your application, please record it using screen-recording software and embed the video in your presentation.
      2. Finalists will have 4 minutes to present, and 2 minutes for Q&A with the judges.
  1. Teams will be disqualified if not all three types of files are submitted.
  2. Late Submissions will not be considered.
  3. Each team must make only one submission.
  4. Incomplete entries will be judged accordingly.  Check your work!


The three finalists, as decided on by our panel of judges, will all receive prizes.  The prizes, listed below, are final and non-transferable by the winner.  If you accept a prize, you will be solely responsible for all applicable taxes (if any) related to such prize.  Odds of winning any prize depend on the number of eligible entries received and the skill of the entrants.  No transfer or substitution of prizes, except at the sole discretion of Sponsor.

First Place

    • Lunch at NBA league office with NBA staff (staff, date and time specified by the Sponsor), up to a value of $50.00 per person.
    • Open invitation for a pickup basketball game at Terminal 23 (the Hackathon venue)
    • Tickets to one (1) NBA game (one (1) ticket per each team member with value up to $200) to one (1) NBA arena collectively chosen by the team (Note: Based on the arena chosen the NBA will provide a list of games for the Team to choose from)
    • $800 gift card to the NBA store for the entire team (1 gift card)

Second Place

    • Tickets to one (1) NBA game (one (1) ticket per each team member with value up to $200) to one (1) NBA arena collectively chosen by the team (Note: Based on the arena chosen the NBA will provide a list of games for the Team to choose from)
    • $700 gift card to the NBA store for the entire team (1 gift card)

Third Place

    • $600 gift card to the NBA store for the entire team (1 gift card)

First, second and third place prize winners are all also invited to a tour of the NBA league office.  All NBA league office prizing will be at NBA headquarters in New York City on a date and time specified by the Sponsor.

Gift Cards are subject to issuer’s terms and conditions.  Travel to and from NBA Game, accommodation, and related expenses are not included in prize and is each winner’s sole responsibility. Tickets are subject to terms and conditions specified thereon.  Seat locations will be determined by Sponsor.

Total ARV

Total approximate retail value of all prizes equal $4,000.

Code of Conduct at the Hackathon

The National Basketball Association is an organization built on integrity and strong moral beliefs. The National Basketball Association is committed to providing a safe and welcoming space, without regard to age, gender, race, ethnicity, nationality, sexual orientation, gender identity, gender expression, mental or physical disability, physical appearance, neuro(a)typicality, religion, level of knowledge, level of experience, parental status, marital status, socioeconomic status or background, political affiliation, or any other attribute. The participants of this event are expected to act with the utmost respect for their teammates and competitors and should not show any unwelcome or hostile behavior towards another person for any reason.  This includes, but is not limited to, offensive verbal comments related to personal characteristics or choices, sexual images or comments, deliberate intimidation, bullying, stalking, following, harassing photography or recording, sustained disruption of discussion or events, nonconsensual publication of private comments, inappropriate physical contact, or unwelcome sexual attention. Conduct need not be intentional to be harassment.  Conduct such as this will not be tolerated at this event and will serve as grounds for removal from the event.

The entrant(s) warrants and represents that any programming and related materials used in the Application and/or Submission solution are original and/or, if open source, not subject to any restrictions to be included in the Submission and/or participation in this Hackathon per the relevant open source license and not subject to the proprietary rights of any person or entity.

GENERAL CONDITIONS: All federal, state, and local laws and regulations apply. Sponsor reserves the right to disqualify any entrant from the Contest if, in Sponsor’s sole discretion, it reasonably believes that the entrant has attempted to undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest by cheating, deception, or other unfair playing practices or annoys, abuses, threatens or harasses any other entrants, Sponsor, or the Judges.

RIGHT OF PUBLICITY. By accepting a prize, entrant agrees to Sponsor and its agencies use of his or her name and/or likeness and any materials the he/she/they have submitted for advertising and promotional purposes without additional compensation and/or permission in perpetuity throughout the world, unless prohibited by law.

WARRANTY AND INDEMNITY: Participants warrant that any materials submitted in this Contest/Application process are their own original work and, as such, they are the sole and exclusive owner and rights holder of the submitted materials and that they have the right to submit the materials in the Contest and grant all required licenses. Each entrant agrees not to submit any materials that (1) infringes any third party proprietary rights, intellectual property rights, industrial property rights, personal or moral rights or any other rights, including without limitation, copyright, trademark, patent, trade secret, privacy, publicity or confidentiality obligations; or (2) otherwise violates the applicable state, federal, local or provincial law. To the maximum extent permitted by law, each entrant indemnifies and agrees to keep indemnified Contest Entities at all times from and against any liability, claims, demands, losses, damages, costs and expenses resulting from any act, default or omission of the entrant and/or a breach of any warranty set forth herein. To the maximum extent permitted by law, each entrant agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless the Contest Entities from and against any and all claims, actions, suits or proceedings, as well as any and all losses, liabilities, damages, costs and expenses (including reasonable attorney’s fees) arising out of or accruing from (a) any Submission or solution or other material uploaded or otherwise provided by the entrant that infringes any copyright, trademark, trade secret, trade dress, patent or other intellectual property right of any person or defames any person or violates their rights of publicity or privacy, (b) any misrepresentation made by the entrant in connection with the Contest; (c) any non-compliance by the entrant with these Rules; (d) claims brought by persons or entities other than the parties to these Rules arising from or related to the entrant’s involvement with the Contest; (e) acceptance, possession, misuse or use of any prize or participation in any Contest-related activity or participation in this Contest; (f) any malfunction or other problem with the Contest Site; (g) any error in the collection, processing, or retention of entry information; or (h) any typographical or other error in the printing, offering or announcement of any prize or winners.

ELIMINATION: Any false information provided within the context of the Contest by any entrant concerning identity, mailing address, telephone number, email address, ownership of right or non-compliance with these Rules or the like may result in the immediate elimination of the entrant from the Contest.

INTERNET: Contest Entities are not responsible for any malfunction of the entire Contest Site or any late, lost, damaged, misdirected, incomplete, illegible, undeliverable, or destroyed submissions or entry materials due to system errors, failed, incomplete or garbled computer or other telecommunication transmission malfunctions, hardware or software failures of any kind, lost or unavailable network connections, typographical or system/human errors and failures, technical malfunction(s) of any telephone network or lines, cable connections, satellite transmissions, servers or providers, or computer equipment, traffic congestion on the Internet or at the Contest Site, or any combination thereof, including other telecommunication, cable, digital or satellite malfunctions which may limit an entrant’s ability to participate.

RIGHT TO CANCEL, MODIFY OR DISQUALIFY. If for any reason the Contest is not capable of running as planned, including infection by computer virus, bugs, tampering, unauthorized intervention, fraud, technical failures, or any other causes which corrupt or affect the administration, security, fairness, integrity, or proper conduct of the Contest, Sponsor reserves the right at its sole discretion to cancel, terminate, modify or suspend the Contest. Sponsor further reserves the right to disqualify any entrant who tampers with the submission process or any other part of the Contest or Contest Site. Any attempt by an entrant to deliberately damage any web site, including the Contest Site, or undermine the legitimate operation of the Contest is a violation of criminal and civil laws and should such an attempt be made, Sponsor reserves the right to seek damages from any such entrant to the fullest extent of the applicable law.

NOT AN OFFER OR CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT: Under no circumstances shall the submission of an Application or Submission or solution into the Contest, the awarding of a prize, or anything in these Rules be construed as an offer or contract of employment and/or an independent contractor relationship with either Sponsor, or the Contest Entities. You acknowledge that you have submitted your Application or Solution voluntarily and not in confidence or in trust. You acknowledge that no confidential, fiduciary, agency or other relationship or implied-in-fact contract now exists between you and Sponsor or the Contest Entities and that no such relationship is established by your submission of an Application or Solution under these Rules.

Arbitration: Except where prohibited by law, as a condition of participating in this Contest , participant agrees that at the sole and exclusive discretion of Sponsor/NBAP that (1) any and all disputes and causes of action arising out of or connected with this Contest, or any prizes awarded, shall be resolved individually, without resort to any form of class action, and exclusively by final and binding arbitration under the rules of the American Arbitration Association and held in New York County, New York; (2) the Federal Arbitration Act shall govern the interpretation, enforcement and all proceedings at such arbitration; and (3) judgment upon such arbitration award may be entered in any court having jurisdiction. Under no circumstances will participant be permitted to obtain awards for, and participant hereby waives all rights to claim, punitive, incidental or consequential damages, or any other damages, including attorneys’ fees, other than participant’s actual out-of-pocket expenses (i.e., costs associated with participating in this Contest), and participant further waives all rights to have damages multiplied or increased.

Choice of Law: All issues and questions concerning the construction, validity, interpretation and enforceability of these Official Rules, or the rights and obligations of participant and Sponsor in connection with the Contest, shall be governed by, and construed in accordance with, the substantive laws of the State of New York, USA.