Analytics Are Taking Over Soccer
J Thoendell stashed this in Sports
In February, Matthew Benham, the owner of the English club Brentford, did an astonishing thing. Even though Brentford had earned promotion to the second-tier Championship just last season, and even though the club was in fifth place in the league, Benham effectively fired the manager (Mark Warburton), assistant manager (David Weir) and sporting director (Frank McParland), announcing their contracts would not be renewed at season’s end.
Why on earth would he do a thing like that? The answer, Benham argues, lay in the data. His data. Benham, you see, is not your typical sports owner. Over the years, Benham made a fortune betting on soccer, more than enough to buy Brentford (his childhood team) in 2012 and a Danish club called Midtjylland last year. His betting success was based on a mathematical model that he believes is far more reflective of a team’s strength than the league table itself.