A numerical study of designs for sporting contests
Operational Research may be used to compare different designs for a sporting contest or tournament. This paper considers a methodology for this purpose. We propose a number of tournament metrics that can be used to measure the success of a sporting contest or tournament, and describe how these metrics may be evaluated for a particular tournament design. Knowledge of these measures can then be used to compare competing designs, such as round-robin, pure knockout and hybrids of these designs. We show, for example, how the design of the tournament influences the outcome uncertainty of the tournament and the number of unimportant matches within the tournament. In this way, where new designs are proposed, the implications of these designs may be explored within a modelling paradigm. In football (soccer), the UEFA Champions League has adopted a number of designs over its 50 year history; the design of the tournament has been modified principally in response to the changing demands of national league football and television - the paper uses this particular tournament to illustrate the methodology.
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