Moneyball Applied: Econometrics and the Identification and Recruitment of Elite Australian Footballers

By Stewart, Mark F.; Mitchell, Heather et al. | International Journal of Sport Finance, November 2007 | Go to article overview

Moneyball Applied: Econometrics and the Identification and Recruitment of Elite Australian Footballers


Stewart, Mark F., Mitchell, Heather, Stavros, Constantino, International Journal of Sport Finance


Abstract

The best selling book Moneyball posited a theory on the success of a Major League Baseball franchise that used detailed match data to identify inefficiencies in the market for professional baseball players. These statistics were then exploited to the advantage of that team. An important part of this strategy involved using mathematical techniques to identify which player statistics were most associated with team success, and then using these results to decide which players to recruit. This paper uses a similar approach to analyze elite Australian Football, making use of various types of regression models to identify and quantify the important player statistics in terms of their affect on match outcomes.

Keywords: Moneyball, Australian Football, sports statistics

Introduction

The use of statistics to assist sporting organizations in making personnel and coaching decisions is not a new phenomenon. They have, however, been given increased prominence with the release of books and the publication of websites that aim, in part, to describe advantages that may accrue to those sporting teams who best utilize these statistical methods. Michael Lewis' Moneyball (2003), which deals with baseball; The Wages of Wins by Berri, Schmidt, and Brook (2006), which focuses primarily on basketball; and the website Football Outsiders (http://www.footballoutsiders.com), which analyzes American football, are prominent examples of this.

The purpose of this paper is to explore the possibility of whether statistical methods can be used to assist in the recruitment of Australian Football League (AFL) players, particularly to establish if there are any market inefficiencies to be exploited. Using various regression models the individual player statistics that are most highly correlated with team success are selected and quantified. That is, the statistical modeling in this paper is able to show the statistical relationship between individual player statistics and team winning margins.1 This is something that has not previously been done for Australian Football.

Using the results from our model, club recruiting staff could use these statistics to identify potential players. These player statistics would be used alongside, or in place of, the traditional more subjective methods of selecting players that are currently utilized.

This paper will proceed as follows. In the next section some of the previous research using statistics to recruit elite sportsmen is summarized. Then the data used in this study is explained. After this the econometric estimation and results are outlined. This is followed by a discussion of the implications of our findings, and lastly some conclusions are drawn.

Previous Research

Lewis' (2003) popular publication Moneyball has been a significant catalyst in the increased attention given to statistical analysis and sporting organization decision-making. The book, which was among the top 10 on the New York Times best-seller list every week of 2004, chronicled the exploits of the Oakland Athletics Major League Baseball (MLB) team. In 2002, the Athletics, despite having close to the lowest player payroll, won the equal highest number of games throughout the regular season. This outcome, according to the theory suggested by the author, was directly related to a strategic statistical approach that sought to exploit perceived irregularities and inefficiencies in the baseball player labor market. By focussing on recruiting older players (college rather than high school) and emphasizing the importance of a certain narrow range of baseball statistical measures over traditional approaches, the Athletics were able to build a roster of players that performed very well for relatively little cost.

Although the details of how the Oakland Athletics specifically formulated their player statistical valuations was not presented in great detail, it appears that some form of regression analysis (as is the case in the current study) was used. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Sign up now for a free, 1-day trial and receive full access to:

  • Questia's entire collection
  • Automatic bibliography creation
  • More helpful research tools like notes, citations, and highlights
  • Ad-free environment

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Moneyball Applied: Econometrics and the Identification and Recruitment of Elite Australian Footballers
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Full screen

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

"Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.