Thursday, 23 October 2014

The Tempest

"Full fathom five thy father lies,

Of his bones are coral made,
Those are pearls that were his eyes,
Nothing of him that doth fade,
But doth suffer a sea-change,
into something rich and strange,
Sea-nymphs hourly ring his knell,
Hark! now I hear them, ding-dong, bell."
I am indebted to Football Investor Stewboss for drawing my attention to how a service evolves, or perhaps should evolve, over just a couple of seasons. Clarifying that his question regarding the recording of prices on the XX Draws actually related to the 2012-13 season, he added:
“the current policy is quite a sea change!”
Although this may have been said with a slight hint of sarcasm (as in I should have made the change earlier) I'll take it as a compliment, the point being that the change needed to be made and better late than never.

If a service doesn't evolve over the years, there's probably something wrong, but either way it was a good observation to highlight one of the more important changes. It's easy to get so wrapped up in the present that you forget even the relatively recent past. In my opinion, it’s a necessary sea-change that any credible service would be well served to follow, although I understand that is unlikely to happen.

A little history for perspective. Anyone serious about investing on sports keeps accurate records, and so when my service began, without giving the subject too much thought, I simply continued recording the prices I was achieving or being matched at myself. I imagine many others take this approach initially also, for the simple reason that keeping one set of records is easier than keeping two.

Another reason was that working with Draws in the top leagues, the prices tended to be relatively stable, and the need for a more transparent price recording process was not readily apparent.

However, as a service expands, whether in terms of scope (i.e. more than just draws) and/or subscriber base, recording your own prices, however you go about it, is always going to be a less than satisfactory arrangement.

When the FTL started, it was also rather more informal, with me taking entrants at their word on the prices claimed, but as this too evolved, in the interest of fairness, a standard needed to be adopted and adhered to, and I have yet to hear of a better solution than that of using independently recorded prices from a book that doesn’t restrict accounts, and which is generally competitive.

Outsourcing price recording may be a sea change philosophically, but for any service recording fair and attainable prices, it shouldn’t make too much of a difference to the actual numbers, certainly not in liquid markets.

In the unregulated and wild world of sports investing services, there is not yet anything along the lines of an industry standard, but even in the financial industry, this has its problems:
Although past performance is certainly not an indication of future results, there are some clues to be found about the quality of a fund by correctly measuring its past performance. Usually, what will be discerned through a careful study of past performance is that not many mutual funds actually deliver anything close to what their advertisements claim.
If these are problems potential investors in established and audited mutual funds face in correctly measuring past performance, I suspect that a new world order in sports betting is some way off.

What is not some way off is the October monthly FTL prize, which will be decided after Thursday 30th's Serie A game. There is a full round of matches midweek in Italy. Friday 31st will be included in November 1st's round which will also be the second round of Erskine Cup Group games.

No comments: