Field Theory by Hadyn Green

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Field Theory: A competitive competition

19 Responses

  • Rachel Prosser,

    What is the most important thing for you in a sports competition? If you answered "a close competition" then you are in agreement with most sports fans around the world.

    Oh Hadyn, you come with your logic and statistics, and like a dyed-in-the wool "insert party" voter, I will remain a bonus point devotee, and no amount of analysis will convince me otherwise.

    I just enjoy watching games with the bonus point way too much (and support a team which gets lots of them). When watching Canterbury get 3 tries in the first half, it makes that fourth try extra special. It's like your team gets to win the match twice!

    While the competition as a whole may be more "interesting" in the eyes of "most sports fans" who like a "close competition" I will remain devoted to the bonus point as making individual matches much more interesting in rugby.

    Cricket, maybe not.

    Christchurch • Since Mar 2008 • 228 posts Report Reply

  • Tom Semmens,

    Imagining the purpose of professional sport is all about allowing the best athletes to win the competition indicates to me the you have failed to see the woods for the trees, or alternatively you actually believe the advertising bullshit that surrounds it.

    Professional sport is a branch of the entertainment industry. Therefore it seems to me obvious the primary purpose of the whole exercise is entertainment - specifically, attractive for T.V. entertainment. And that includes the whole kit and kaboodle of lauding "important" statistics, talking heads arguing about (amongst other things) bonus points, the media fawning over underwear modelling first five eights, outrage at obscene transfer fees, which bad boy sports star has beaten up his girlfriend/random nightclub victim(s) and all the other terminally boring trivia built on the shoulders of the assorted genetic freak shows of the various pro sports competitions.

    The idea that professional sport might (or even should) still just be about making sure the best team wins is frankly laughable. In fact (as anyone who observed the local media fallout from the All Black's quarter final loss in Cardiff in 2007 must surely agree) a "wrong" or "bad" result can actually be better for the owners of the product than the "right" team winning.

    I'ts all about a package - product placement, soap opera, morality tale, Simpson's cartoon. Oh yes and a game of some sort usually occurs at some stage.

    Sevilla, Espana • Since Nov 2006 • 2217 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    At a very basic level the research team created an "engine" that could determine the evenness of a sports competition. They then correlated those evenness scores with factors the various competitions had brought in to even them up. So in essence the team was able to determine how effective things like salary caps and inverse drafts are at in actual evening things up.

    I couldn't get from "these are the least even competitions" to "these measures don't work in making competitions even". That's one possible solution, but there's others.

    Super rugby, at least in New Zealand, for example, the primary factor of where players play is where their province lies in terms of franchises. Most players who get a super 14 contract, get it with the franchise that their province is part of. It's possible that one way to make the super 14 more even would be to break that relationship.

    A salary cap relies on a free market where players can easily move around and change teams when the money becomes available. That happens a little, but only to a limited extent.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Isn’t there a cricket test on?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Jo S,

    I am kind of interested in what their measures of "evenness" are.
    Do they use lots of different factors or just how close the points table is?
    Will have to go check out the paper in Jan.

    is it autumn yet? • Since May 2007 • 80 posts Report Reply

  • Angus Robertson,

    If you answered "a close competition" then you are in agreement with most sports fans around the world.

    Say's who?

    People really want to see the best playing at their best, "close competition" is something we only say we want - mostly when our team is losing.

    Tiger Woods dominated golf for 3 years, it became seriously uncompetitive - ratings went up or down? Federer did the same for tennis. Schumacher in F1. Rossi in MotoGP. Chicago Bulls with Michael Jordan were dominant in the NBA.

    The most prestigious, widely watched yachting regatta is the Americas Cup - competitive close racing or a series of mostly one sided romps pre-rigged to favour the defending syndicate?

    People want to see skill. Even these statisticians have selected - MLB, NBA, Super14, EPL, NFL - the apex competitions of all club competitions. They have waved some bogus closeness wand over these, meh.

    Auckland • Since May 2007 • 984 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Isn’t there a cricket test on?

    Here you are, Ian O'Brien blogs from his bathtub.

    I was half listening to Radio Sport this morning while packing, and they named this their #3 blog of the year.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    Emma,

    What were nos 1 and 2?

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    What were nos 1 and 2?

    Keith Quinn from Beijing and Bryan Waddle from Dunedin/Napier?

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    From memory, Cricinfo and Stuff.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Emma Hart,

    Ergo, she said, finally thinking, it must have been site not blog. Told you I wasn't listening.

    Christchurch • Since Nov 2006 • 4651 posts Report Reply

  • Naly D,

    So technically O'Brien took out 1st and 3rd.

    Wellington • Since Sep 2008 • 307 posts Report Reply

  • Kyle Matthews,

    Off topic, but Patel just got Gayle out for 197. Game on if they can get the last two wickets quicksmart.

    Since Nov 2006 • 6243 posts Report Reply

  • Peter Darlington,

    Isn’t there a cricket test on?

    Gayle out for 197, damn, he deserved the 200 for the innings of the series.

    Nelson • Since Nov 2006 • 949 posts Report Reply

  • LegBreak,

    It was as if someone invaded his body the way he batted.

    A very Days 4 and 5 Vettori-like performance from Vettori again…

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 1162 posts Report Reply

  • Graeme Edgeler,

    Wow - everyone completely beat me to it.

    Bonus points are about trying to create a spectacle (that sports organisation believe sponsors want, because they in turn believe most punters want that).

    Surely three 3 points for a win, 1 for a draw in soccer was about the same thing? People are supposed to not like 1-all draws, and they're perhaps not big fans of 12-3 rugby results :-)

    And agree with it or not (I'm not really sure myself) the rationale certainly isn't about ensuring the best side advances.

    Wellington, New Zealand • Since Nov 2006 • 3207 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Not to get pissy on Christmas Eve but:

    If you answered "a close competition" then you are in agreement with most sports fans around the world.

    Say's who?

    ...

    People want to see skill. Even these statisticians have selected - MLB, NBA, Super14, EPL, NFL - the apex competitions of all club competitions. They have waved some bogus closeness wand over these, meh.

    The most annoying thing for a researcher is when they present their findings and someone says "that's not what I reckon" like that discredits the whole thing.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

  • Hadyn Green,

    Isn’t there a cricket test on?

    No I don't think so.

    Wellington • Since Nov 2006 • 2090 posts Report Reply

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