Rob Minto

Sport, data, ideas

Month: February 2016

Sport Geek #33: the underdog media-cycle and Leicester City

Where are we in the Leicester City media cycle? Every underdog story has four stages. They are:

1) Aberration: when things are too early. A team that is top of the league in September? BFD. No story. Won’t last.

2) Disbelief: is when things have gone on too long for it to be ignored, but no-one can take it properly seriously. The wheels are going to fall off at some point, surely? This can’t go on.

3) Over-hype: it could really happen. It might actually happen. It’s going to happen. It would be a fairytale! Dreams come true. One in the eye for all the big money sides. Note: at this point, there are lots of writers who either go into meta-analysis of all this (including this post, of course), or go contrarian and stick to the disbelief narrative. The longer it goes on, the harder it gets to stay immune from the excitement.

4a) Hindsight is at the end of the season when the underdog club don’t win. Of course they were never going to do it. What were we thinking? Dreams don’t come true. Money talks.
4b) Canonisation is the less-likely alternative, and is the reaction to the underdog actually winning. Reams of stuff about how it makes you believe in miracles, the country needed a boost, MBEs all round. Recent scandals (sex tapes, racism?) are conveniently forgotten about.

We have just switched from disbelief to over-hype. It will hit another level if Leicester beat Arsenal this weekend. Brace yourself.

Fewer stories this week, but all highly recommended.  Continue reading

Sport Geek #32: angry stag, loving Novak, and football Brexit

First – apologies to anyone who got last-week’s newsletter yesterday. I screwed up a Mailchimp setting. It won’t happen again (promise).

Now to the sport. Novak Djokovic’s win in Melbourne gives tennis an all-too familiar and predictable feel. Which is a shame, as he’s clearly doing everything right. The strange thing is, the storyline should get way more interesting at the French – yet it probably won’t. Were he to win, the criticism will be that he is too good, making the game boring, too dominant. Lose, and it’s 2015 all over again. Lose-lose. At some point in the not-too-distant future, we will miss him. We just can’t see it yet. Continue reading

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