The Five Billion Person Party

Notes of a wandering American soccer fan

Everton playing Championship Manager

Posted by steigs on November 17, 2008

When I’m playing Championship Manager, I always enjoy scouting — asking my scouts to go find interesting players, often in leagues I know nothing about.  Leaving aside the benefits to my virtual team of finding a cheap gem, I often later see semi-familiar names running about my t.v. screen a year or two later.  “Hey, wasn’t the Polish guy I scouted…”

So I shouldn’t be surprised if real football teams are tapping into the actual CM database:

On Friday, it was announced that Everton have signed an exclusive deal with Sports Interactive, the game’s developers, to give the club special access to the full database. At a stroke, David Moyes’s scouting team gained details of more than 370,000 players and staff at 20,000 teams in 50 countries. Why Everton, when other clubs had approached the makers about a similar tie-up? It helped, no doubt, that Paul and Oliver Collyer, those brothers, are diehard Evertonians.

As amusing as this is, what it really represents is the triumph of the open source model.  Every year, hundreds of people volunteer to offer ratings of players around the world, in the hopes of making the game more accurate.  (I’m currently playing a DC United game which accurately considers Luciano Emilio to be a pretty good striker — though how the raters thought Rod Dyachenko was useful on the field is beyond me.)  Everton is tapping into this “wisdom of the crowd” in a way that covers so much more ground than their traditional scouts, aided and abetted by tapes of games, can ever do. 

Given the global popularity of the game, this has particular potential — so many leagues, so many players, so many games.  The Five Billion Person Party gone virtual comes back to help the real world!

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