Oakland Athletics vice president Billy Beane – “Football transfers are an art form”billy beane
“Everyone is a data guy until the data doesn’t back them up,” Billy Beane said at the Soccer Analytics Conference hosted by the Seattle Soundersand attended by Transfermarkt. Beane was made famous by the book Moneyball, which was later turned into a film starring Brett Pitt.
Today Beane is the executive vice president of baseball operations and the minority owner of the Major League Baseball franchise Oakland Athletics.
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From baseball to soccer, a passion that started for Beane on a chance trip to Europe and has led to multiple roles in the game.The Athletics ownership group also owns Major League Soccer club San Jose Earthquakes,and Beane is a minority owner at Barnsley FC and an advisor to the Dutch Eredivisie side AZ Alkmaar.
Despite the cancelation of the Eredivisie, Beane believes that clubs like Alkmaar will be in a good position in the post-COVID-19 world. “Clubs that have been operating based on a strong business model, on the whole, will benefit,” Beane said. “Ultimately, the worst position to be in when operating on the transfer market is to have to generate income.”
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As for the overall impact on the transfer market, Beane believes that it will be all relative. “Teams will all have less to spend on the market,” Beane said. Therefore as the market shrinks overall, bigger clubs will still be the more likely to buy players. As for Alkmaar? “AZ Alkmaar are a strong business run by smart people. They should do alright.”
Beane: Transfers efficiency depends on data
Beane, who has made trading up in baseball an art form, however, acknowledged that the open market in football could be challenging to navigate. “There is an art to strengthen and weaken at the right time,” Beane said.
Ultimately, that art depends on data and making the right data available. Something that football still lacks behind in comparison to other sports. For Beane, the solution, therefore, seems simple: “Give enough smart people the right data, and they will figure it out.”
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Oakland Athletics vice president Billy Beane – “Football transfers are an art form”