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Friday, January 16, 2009

Just the facts

There's a really interesting article about football by Danny Finkelstein in this month's Financial World. His piece, which is about using data and statistics instead of punditry in soccer, contains a number of interesting snippets, but the most interesting part to me was the graph relating wages (as a proxy for total wealth of the soccer club) and the premier league points gained. The curve is clear and asymptotic: money does buy success and, exactly as you would suspect, the more money you spend the lower the marginal return.

Teams above the curve (eg, Portsmouth) have something (generally speaking, a manager) that enables them to outperform the players alone whereas clubs below the curve (eg, Manchester City) will have to spend a huge amount of money to get additional points that the players aren't earning them. Fortunately, Manchester City have absolutely the hugest amount of money imaginable and they apparently bid ONE HUNDRED AND SEVENTY FIVE MILLION POUNDS to bring Kaka to Middle Eastlands (as the City fans were signing earlier in the season, "fill up your car, we're buy Kaka").

As well as a world-record transfer fee, City’s owners are reported to have offered the player a £75 million signing-on fee and wages in the region of £250,000 a week.

[From How can AC Milan spend £100m on Kaka in a recession? - Telegraph]

As a lifelong blue, I have to say that I hope they fail to get him. There is something utterly obscene about spending that much money on a footballer, something just plain wrong.

In the future, everyone will be famous to fifteen people.
[posted with ecto]

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