English Premier League’s Lack of Premier-ness

This piece will make a ton of sense to my British and European readers, likely less so to those of you from the States. The English Premier League has been not so great at finishing well let alone winning in the Champions League.

Super briefly, English football—soccer—has a whole bunch of teams that play at different levels. Kind of like the US minor leagues, but without the affiliation of minor league teams to major league teams. That is, every team for itself. The Premier League is the top rung. (Every year, the worst teams in the Premier League are dropped into the minors and the very best from the minors move up into the Premier League.) This league includes the ones even Americans have heard of: Manchester, Arsenal, Chelsea. And maybe even Liverpool. Liverpool is playing today to make it into the Champions League finals.

(Full disclosure: I always say if I had to pick an English team to follow it would be Liverpool. Why? Because they are owned by Fenway Sports Group, the same group that owns the Boston Red Sox.)

The thing is that as well known as many of these teams are, they have been faring not well in the Champions League, which is like the Premier League but of all European football. That is, the best teams from every top league in all of Europe compete for a European trophy. FiveThirtyEight explored some reasons why, but also included a nice graphic to showcase the relative failures of the Premier League teams.

Making it through the Champions League…
Making it through the Champions League…

The chart makes nice use of grouped bar charts showing the number of teams from each league at each stage of the playoffs. The designers made good use of labelling, especially at the top to indicate to which country each league belongs. My only question would be is whether these make sense from the top down, as they presently are, or if they would work better bottom up, in that the winning team has to climb their way to victory.

To be honest, I am not really sure which approach would work best. I think it might be even odds. Either way, Liverpool plays Roma later today.

Credit for the piece goes to Tim Wigmore.

FIFA’s Revenue and Spending

If you did not hear about it the other day, the head of FIFA resigned. That is kind of a big deal because football (in the rest-of-the-world sense of the word) is kind of a big deal. But the organisation that runs it is generally seen as wholly corrupt. So this BBC piece takes a look at the revenue and spending—at least so far as we know about it.

Sort of a Sankey diagram
Sort of a Sankey diagram

Credit for the piece goes to the BBC graphics department.

More World Cup Predictions

Earlier this week we looked at how Bloomberg was doing predictions and odds for the World Cup. Today we look at the Economist’s go. It uses something called the probability circle. It lacks the depth of Bloomberg’s piece, but from a design angle does play off the shape of the soccer ball and not in the cheesiest of fashions. Here it actually begins to work in lieu of our familiar bracket system (see every other sports final tournament series I have ever seen). To be fair, the Economist does not actually make any predictions in this, rather, it provides the odds that different teams will make different stages.

Economist's odds on each team
Economist’s odds on each team

Credit for the piece goes to A.Y., P.K., D.D.M., J.M.F., and K.N.C.

Predicting the World Cup Winners

The World Cup is starting soon and that means predictions are also on their way. And snazzy graphics. Today’s snazzy graphic with predictions comes from Bloomberg. They have host Brazil winning the overall tournament. And if you want to investigate the matches further, you can do that by clicking on the match.

Brazil wins
Brazil wins

Credit for the piece goes to the Bloomberg graphics department.

Travelling for the World Cup

Well, travel for the teams, not you. It’s a big issue in Brazil because unlike the last couple of times, the teams need to travel big distances to reach the cities where they play their matches. Thankfully, to explain just how far some of these distances are for some of these teams, Quartz put together a nice article with quite a few graphics.

This graphic in particular juxtaposes the travels of the US team and the Argentinian team. Who do you think has it easier?

US and Argentinian travels
US and Argentinian travels

Credit for the piece goes to Jason Karaian and Ritchie King.