1 de enero de 2007

What is the most competitive sport?

E. Ben-Naim, F. Vazquez, S. Redner, J. Korean Phys. Soc. 50, 124 (2007)

We present an extensive statistical analysis of the results of all sports competitions in the major sports leagues in England and the United States. We characterize the parity among teams by the variance in the winning fraction from season-end standings data and quantify the predictability of games by the frequency of upsets from game results data. We introduce a mathematical model in which the underdog team wins with a fixed upset probability. This model quantitatively relates the parity among teams with the predictability of the games, and the model can be used to estimate the upset frequency from standings data. We propose the likelihood of upsets as a measure of competitiveness.