Written by: Valentin Stolbunov
Soccer, or football, or footy, or “the beautiful game” is the world’s most popular sport. When trying to prove this to a fan of North American sports, a soccer fan’s best weapon is usually global TV audience numbers. The 2014 Super Bowl had an audience of about 160 million viewers worldwide. The same year, the FIFA World Cup final had a global audience of about 1 billion. So, yeah, soccer is popular.
The recent sports analytics movement, however, didn’t originate from the world’s most popular sport. Most would agree it started with baseball and then spread to other North American sports – hockey, basketball, and football (the one with helmets). Compared to these sports, the use of advanced or “fancy” stats in soccer is still in the early stages.