A shorter newsletter this week because, you know.
You might be rather full of how-amazing-greatest-sporting-upset-ever-what-were-the-odds-5000-to-1 Leicester by now, but it still is a brilliant thing.
A few parting thoughts.
The Premier League is set up to keep the rich clubs on top. In the US the big main sports have three levellers: the draft, salary caps, and a knock-out playoff format which makes the winner more of a lottery. In the UK, a 38-game league format plus performance-related cash means the whole system is stacked to maintain the status quo. Previously, only oligarch money has broken the stranglehold at the top.
So do Leicester represent something new? Perhaps: Tottenham look good for another title run, and teams such as Southampton showed in the last few years that it is possible to challenge – for a while. West Ham look promising too.
The counter is that it is a fluke, a one-off, and nothing like it will happen again. Either way, this is a season to savour.
LEICESTER LEICESTER LEICESTER
There have been sooooo many articles, it’s hard to choose. First, there’s the deep dive: the Guardian has the inside story of an extraordinary season. It’s a good read. What convinced Leicester to appoint Claudio Ranieri? Why are injured players pitchside at training on exercise bikes? And what have been the keys to a remarkable Premier League success?
Next, let’s go econ. Gavyn Davies does a great job on the odds and economics of football.
Lastly, the Economist on sporting upsets.
That should do it.
Quartz looks at how the draft has become the biggest sporting event that paradoxically features no sport.
The NY Times asks a good question: has the replay taken the fun out of watching sports?
It’s true: snooker players are getting better all the time. I crunch the numbers in the FT Baseline.
The Guardian Fiver calls it Big Cup; it’s name is all wrong (there are lots of non-champions); it’s the pinnacle of club football. The Economist explains the appeal – and flaws – in the Champions League.
Political crisis, dirty water, unfinished venues – is Brazil ready for the Olympics? Bizarrely, the answer may be: yes.
Bye for now