Against all odds: Better odds on a Kardashian becoming President than Leicester winning the Premier League


Whether you’re a football fan or not, there is no doubt that the world was watching and paying tribute as Leicester City were crowned Premier League champions after Tottenham failed to beat Chelsea on Monday night. Leicester started the season as a 5,000/1 outsider for the title after almost being relegated last season. Having lost only three games so far this campaign, Leicester’s victory has been described as a “fairytale” and the “most unlikely triumph in the history of team sport”.

Here in the UK, we love a good underdog story and it is great to see such an achievement. But what is really interesting is not how the team beat the odds (I can’t say that would be my area of expertise) but how this has become the longest-odds-success ever gambled on in sport.

Back in August, you could get shorter odds on all of these crazy possibilities than you could on Leicester winning the league. Here is a rundown of some of the things bookies thought were more likely:

Bookmaker William Hill even had Radio 1 DJ Nick Grimshaw as the same odds — 5,000/1 — to win an Olympic gold in Rio.

As the whole of Leicester celebrates this momentous win, so are the few punters brave enough to put cash on the season’s “joke bet”. The result means winnings of up to £100,000 each! Less than jubilant though are the nation’s bookmakers who between them will be paying out £25 million, the biggest loss in British history on a single sporting market.

After the most unpredictable season in the Premier League, some analysts have suggested the Leicester City title win could be worth as much as £150 million to the club, thanks to increased match day attendance and commercial revenues.

Following the win, Twitter also reported an 86{20156fe61baea400d2663eb990f17abdabeb6ef183a2129287a793abd8ac1d8a} rise in activity in the UK with celebrities and fans alike sharing the good news on the social media platform.

Leicester’s triumph has also sparked interest in the world of business, which has long looked to sport for lessons on management and leadership. The club’s success serves as a reminder that smaller outfits can prosper by emulating what bigger ones do well (and using tech to do it). Leicester adopted new technology and undertook the analysis of data to review how players perform on the pitch.

Applied in the business world, in the past smaller organisations in the market — with limited budget and technology resources — often couldn’t compete with larger companies with infinity larger resources. But in the age of cloud and rise of big data analytics, the playing field has been levelled. SMEs are now able to take advantage of the same technology as larger organisations — particularly around analysing data to boost performance and sales — without the need for a huge investment.

However, while Leicester’s success is pretty amazing, bookies are not counting on the team staying in top position. The odds for The Foxes winning the title  next season are currently at 33/1. So, after this season’s shocking result, my money is on Burnley!

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