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Business Intelligence

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  • 01 Aug 2019

    The 30,000-foot view

    How much is Eden Hazard worth? Real Madrid’s view is that he’s worth £90m, and it seems to be in line with the transfer market and media consensus. But why is he worth that much? The question we should be asking ourselves when signing a new player is: how much will he improve the team? […]

  • 18 Jul 2019

    A Magic Gini Lamp?

    Professional sports leagues aspire to be the best in the world. Naturally, leagues are mindful of methods to improve their product and become (or remain) top tier. As a result, they can find themselves turning to other leagues and other sports for ideas – borrowing tactics that appear successful; avoiding those deemed as failures.
    As professional […]

  • 13 Jun 2019

    Intentional inequality

    Common sense tells us that paying 90% of our budget on one player and then spreading the remainder over the rest would not enable us to compete. But, neither would paying everyone the same as it would prevent us from attracting those key players that often make the difference in performance, while also leaving a […]

  • 21 Mar 2019

    Picasso or Pythagoras?

    Computers? Anybody who uses computers doesn’t know a damn thing about this game

    Gus Lobel, the storied baseball scout for the Atlanta Braves portrayed with typical intransigence by Clint Eastwood in Trouble with the Curve, doesn’t like statistics. The general thrust of the film is that identifying talent is an art, and statistics will never match […]

  • 21 Feb 2019

    Is the smart money on Solskjaer?

    Manchester United will have a big decision to make in the summer, and they might be able to find help from an unusual source: the betting markets.

    The odds of Premier League matches are akin to a financial market, with the smartest and well-funded professional gamblers using all the available information to predict the likelihood of […]

  • 14 Feb 2019

    Too early to buy?

    As the transfer market becomes increasingly efficient, clubs have moved to buying younger and younger players. The quest for transfer success has led to what is effectively an informational arms race between the top clubs, who have invested heavily in worldwide scouting operations and cutting-edge quantitative analysis teams, all in order to identify the best […]

  • 12 Dec 2018

    Performance 101

    Smart clubs know that results do not always reflect performance, and that in turn teams that are performing well will over time get better results than those that are performing badly – regardless of recent results.

    The question is how we measure performance. Managers often speak about ‘creating the better chances’ in post-match interviews following […]

  • 08 Nov 2018

    No shame in 2nd

    Wherever you look in Europe, there are newly-promoted teams who are impressing in the highest division. In England, Wolves already look set to challenge for a top-half finish. The Austrian Bundesliga has been lit up by TSV Hartberg’s enterprising approach in their first-ever top-flight season. And in Norway, Ranheim are sixth having been as high […]

  • 01 Nov 2018

    The body count

    If you can’t count what’s important, you make what you can count important
    In Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s epic 10-part, 17-hour Vietnam War documentary series, retired army officer James Willbank succinctly summed up the approach senior officials took to measuring the success of military operations. By body count, the US were winning the war, and […]