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A couple of articles worth mentioning

Over the last couple of days I read a pair of articles that followed on some previous posts of mine. I retweeted one, but I haven’t mentioned the other until now. The first is the conversation that Moneyball writer Michael Lewis and Billy Beane had about the book, the movie, and the state of analytics in sport, all of which was recorded by Simon Kuper and published in the Financial Times Magazine. The article was written in advance of Moneyball’s premiere in the UK later this month, but even for those of us in the States who have already seen… Read more ›

MLS: The parity league, even in the Designated Player era

Continuing my look at the finances and on-field results of Major League Soccer, I expand my earlier financial determinism study to the period between 2007 and 2011. This period covers the entire Designated Player era. As in the previous study, I use base salary information provided by the MLS Players Union, but converted club payroll figures to 2007 US dollars. See this post for further details. Incidentally, it’s been brought to my attention that the salary figures from the Players’ Union may not necessarily cover the true payroll costs of MLS clubs. Is that accurate? You’re welcome to illuminate me… Read more ›

Studies of front-office efficiency in American sport

I was looking for other publications that explored the connection between payroll and performance in other American team sports, and came across this interesting series of articles by ESPN’s Patrick Hruby published at the beginning of the year on front-office efficiency in American sports leagues. He covers the Big Four sports leagues as well as college football and basketball (in the latter cases he uses the athletic department budget figures for either sport). The entire series is worth reading. A similar analysis in European sport would be very illuminating, but payroll information appears to be tightly guarded by the football… Read more ›

Inflation-adjusted efficiencies of MLS front offices

Now that the 2011 MLS Cup Playoffs are in full swing, I’ve taken a look back at the just-completed regular season with a post on the relationship between payroll and league performance and another on the marginal payroll cost per point won in the league. In this post, I’ll expand the marginal payroll cost study by looking at the previous five seasons, from 2007 until now. Why 2007? That was the year when the league implemented the Designated Player Rule, popularly known as the "Beckham Rule". Before that season MLS teams operated within a narrow payroll band, but in the… Read more ›

How efficient are MLS front offices? A performance benchmarking analysis

Following on from my previous post on the relationship between Major League Soccer payrolls and on-field performance, I consider how efficient league teams have been in the 2011 regular season. I seek to answer the question, What is an MLS team’s cost per point relative to the league average? In order to answer this question, I perform a quantitative performance benchmark analysis modeled after Bill Gerrard’s study of the Oakland A’s in his Moneyball paper. Performance benchmarking is the practice of assessing an organization’s performance relative to some defined baseline. (It doesn’t have to be an organization; such analyses are… Read more ›

The top 30 European clubs in domestic attendance

The Political Economy of Football website has published a list of the top 30 European clubs in attendance of domestic league matches over the past three seasons. It makes for very interesting reading. The top three or four teams are those that you would expect to see, such as Manchester United, Barcelona, and Real Madrid, as well as Borussia Dortmund with their massive stadium and the best fan support in Germany. It’s only in the last two seasons that Barcelona have entered the top two in attendance for domestic matches, taking the top spot in the 2010-11 season. There are… Read more ›

A financial analysis of Brazilian football

I have been looking for reports on the business model of football clubs in South America for some time, in particular the larger (in an economic sense) South American nations such as Brazil, Mexico, or Chile. Jérôme Osselaer has written a detailed analysis on the financial model of Brazilian clubs ranging from profit and loss analysis to revenue streams and capacity for future growth, especially in light of the upcoming World Cup and Olympic Games in 2014 and 2016, respectively. It’s well worth your time to read in order to gain some insight on a region that has always had… Read more ›