The publication of Erik Braun, András Gyimesi and Gábor Murai entitled "Attractiveness of Champions League matches – chances of winning and central teams" was published in the 100th volume of Statisztikai Szemle, issue 3.
In the paper, the authors use network analysis tools to examine the attractiveness of matches and the composition of successful teams in the Champions League series.
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The Champion League network (1992/1993–2020/2021)
European football and its most prestigious series, the Champions League, have faced a number of challenges over the last few years. Two of the main criticisms of the series are that the matches are not exciting enough and the successful teams with the largest fanbases play only few times against each other. Thus, this study examines the attractiveness of the matches played in the series based on the intensity of the competition and the changes in the composition of the successful core teams over time. For the former, the Elo rating of the teams is studied, and for the latter network analysis is used. The results highlight that the probabilities of winning in 60 to 86 percent of the matches are not close to each other. Moreover, this ratio increases over time. In addition, the top 20 core teams only play 30 percent of all matches against each other. In parallel, the composition of the core teams has changed significantly over time, with some teams being among the best in Europe for just a few years. In conclusion, the popularity of the Champions League and thus the revenue of the teams can be increased by raising the number of close matches between the largest teams.
The paper is available here.