Hatsu 2022: Kensho Update

Thanks again to Herouth for the tracking the kensho data, but I love this data. Nintendo’s sponsorship helped make this tournament the biggest as far as kensho payouts go since we started tracking it, with 22% higher payouts than Wacky-Aki and 44% more kensho than Kyushu. The increased sponsorship of hiramaku bouts made for a dramatic increase as the non-musubi total haul surged past 1,000 envelopes to 1,260. The musubi-no-ichiban bouts added another 414 envelopes to the tally. Each envelope contains 30,000 yen, with an equal portion going to the rikishi’s retirement. Adding in the Association’s fee, the sponsorship is 70,000 yen per kensho banner/envelope. This means the envelopes handed out contained 50 Million yen in cash.

*And thank you, Joe S, for pointing out that my numbers about the amount of yen were off by a factor of 10. I have fixed it. [facepalm]

Total Kensho Pledges

Despite losing the yusho, Terunofuji was yet again the Kensho King, walking away with 282 envelopes. If you do the math with me, that’s $73,600. Mitakeumi walked away with just under $50,000. I expect his bouts with Takakeisho and Terunofuji to be good paydays for whomever wins. (As Ozeki, he won’t have to fight Shodai again. Just kidding, I think.) Third place in the kensho race actually went to Abi, who pipped Shodai and Endo with a little help from his gold-star win against Terunofuji. The great news is that every Makuuchi wrestler walked away with some sponsorship money, and even a few Juryo visitors did, too. My biggest pain point with this is that Takayasu couldn’t share in the bounty.

The coolest thing is that I am starting to see some trends in the aggregate where wrestlers appear to win more bouts when there’s more money on the line. It shouldn’t be a surprise. I think if there’s a few thousand dollars on the line, I’d be more motivated to win. There’s also quite a bit of variability among wrestlers so far but I’m still early in doing that analysis because I need to properly control for rank and strength of opponent.

But on a more basic level, there was an increase in funds across the board which is a great sign. I just think that extra edge helped make the fights more competitive (even on senshuraku) and helped to make for a thrilling tournament. Each day of the tournament had more pledged bouts, and more total envelopes pledged, than any previous tournament we had tracked. This represents the high-water mark of the Covid era and hopefully signals a return to normal is just around the corner.

Speaking of Covid, the news out of Tokyo this weekend was that Mitakeumi tested positive for Covid. Unfortunately, it appears he does have symptoms (headache) so we hope his case stays mild and he recovers quickly. We also hope the case does not turn into an outbreak as he was a participant in the weekend’s retirement activities.

Aki 2021 Kensho Roundup

Once again, thank you, Herouth for providing the data on Kensho for the basho. It provides a very interesting metric which may be a bit of a proxy for commercial (possibly public) interest in particular wrestlers or even the sport as a whole, though these Covid times are not exactly comparable to “The Before Times.” That’s admittedly a rather massive caveat and hopefully normal times resume soon.

As Herouth mentioned prior to the tournament, pledges this basho were way up compared to July. In fact, they were higher than any tournament over the past year, surpassing the tally at Hatsu by 8%. The increased interest was not only for the musubi-no-ichiban, either, as more of the earlier bouts had pledges (233). The amount of envelopes pledged on those bouts was 8.25% higher than in July.

Notably, interest in the new Yokozuna led to a substantial increase in pledges made on the final bout of the day. While the musubi-no-ichiban attracted 192 banners in Nagoya, it more than doubled that tally back in Tokyo (385). Interestingly, that’s not quite as much as the amount pledged last Aki in the drama-filled showdown won by Shodai (415). In that tournament, the musubi cycled through the three Ozeki as they each took turns fighting the final (often the most lucrative) bout of the day.

Terunofuji crushed the field by taking home more than triple the kensho when compared to his closest competitor, Mitakeumi. That fat stack on senshuraku helped but it was really a story of 13 of 15 paydays. Takakeisho, on the other hand, let the most pledges slip through his fingers, followed by Shodai.

Myogiryu, the dark horse of the basho, did quite well, too. His win over Takakeisho provided him with an even fatter stack of kensho than when he beat Terunofuji in May. He also beat Shodai and scored a nice haul there, as well. That’s quite a different story than in November and March when he lost all of those big payday bouts against Ozeki.

I’ve updated the kensho-kin visualization and put it after the “read more” link to keep it from loading every time anyone visits the site. I know you love my data viz but if you’re trying to read more about Hakuho, you probably don’t want this thing rendering every time.

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Kensho Roundup 2020

Thanks to Herouth, we’ve got some great data on kensho again for the November basho. With the hype around a new Ozeki, I was expecting a bump in the number of fat stacks being handed out. However, overall pledges were down 10% from September’s tournament. This was true from Day 1, not something easily explained by Asanoyama and Shodai’s injury withdrawals.

The middle weekend of the September tournament was a holiday, but the bump in pledges in that tournament may have been because of the Endo/Terunofuji bout. There were also huge pledges made for his Day One bout against Asanoyama and his scheduled Day 12 bout with Takakeisho. Takakeisho’s matches saw slightly fewer envelopes, despite being the only “top dog” for much of the tournament. As we see from the chart above, senshuraku again had the most pledges but the bounties placed on Takakeisho vs Asanoyama was higher than Takakeisho vs Terunofuji.

Terunofuji was the most effective wrestler at winning envelopes. He won 87% of the bounty envelopes from his matches while Takakeisho only won 83%, the difference there being Terunofuji’s big win on senshuraku to force a playoff.

Mitakeumi unfortunately came out of this tournament as the biggest loser, letting 79 envelopes slip from his grasp, while last basho, Asanoyama lost the most “fusen-adjusted” envelopes. (For this metric, I took out the envelopes pledged in fusen matches.) Second place for this dubious distinction goes to Enho (-65) and third goes to Takayasu (-61). Takayasu still won 41% of bounties from his bouts while Mitakeumi only won 35% and Enho won 22%. Endo actually had more pledge money up-for-grabs than anyone but Takakeisho in this last tournament.

As with last tournament, I’ll publish the visualizations for you all to play with but I’m going to take a little more time to make it look nice before publishing it. I already think there may be more interesting views than what I’ve got here, so we’ll see what I can do. Anyway, it will only get more exciting when there’s more data to track performance through time.

Aki Kensho Summary

Herouth has been keeping fantastic stats on kensho-kin. I wanted to make use of that data and present it in a more visual fashion and see if we could define any interesting metrics. The most straight-forward is to count the number of envelopes won. Takakeisho won that contest handily. As Herouth mentioned on senshuraku below, Takakeisho walked away with 44 envelopes in that one victory over Asanoyama. That one bout provided nearly a fifth of his total haul.

On the opposite side of the spectrum, we have Asanoyama who lost more envelopes than any other wrestler; 121 envelopes were handed to his opponents from his five losses. He overtook Terutsuyoshi on senshuraku by losing that stack to T-Rex. Overall, it wasn’t a terrible tournament for Asanoyama, though. His ten wins provided 144 envelopes. He won’t even need to spend any on tissues to cry into since they hand them out like business cards. Click the link below to see the visualizations. I don’t want them to bog down your machines if you just scroll and don’t want to see them. But I am interested in which visuals y’all find most interesting.

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