Top 200/MB-gate update

  • It's now been a month and a half since FI opened up MB to the whole of the market (I believe it was October 1st that the change kicked in?). We all know that previously FI stated winners would only come from outside the top 200 7% of the time, based on their research.

    There was uproar in the early days following the announcement when it seemed like that 7% figure was a gross underestimate, but many traders were sensibly recommending we wait and see how it pans out.

    It's now been 49 days since the change was made, and a quick bit of analysis on IndexGain shows that the MB winner has come from outside the top 200 on 23 days since then, or 47% of the time*.

    Now i am aware that the nature of the new cycle shifts across a season, and we are likely to see more prominence for the top 200 as the latter stages of the cups, CL, EL and Euros approach, but is now a reasonable time to challenge the 7% figure, and assert that the actual figure across a year will be FAR higher?

    If it were to fall out at 7% across a year, that would mean 25 days of wins for players outside the top 200 - and we are at 23 wins after just 49 days. Even if the nature of the news cycle changes significantly across the year, surely we are looking at a figure, at an estimate, of at least 20% of wins across a year from players outside the top 200?

    My question is, is it reasonable to assert at this stage that with this MB change, FI has made a quite considerable change to the terms of our bets? They tried to reassure us that it would hardly make any impact, but the evidence so far shows the opposite.

    I was also previously of the belief that the 50% increase in MB payouts would cover any losses related to the fewer days that top 200 players would win - they might win less often but they would win bigger when they won. But previous analysis of several top MB players indicated that they could only afford to lose 30% of their MB wins without losing on the actual amount paid out. So on the current trajectory they are going to return less, as 47% of MB wins have come from squad players since October 1st.

    *(caveat - this is based on looking at current player prices, and applying a cutoff of £1.40 for the top 200 - both of these things shift over time but i don't believe it would have actually made a difference to the figures).

  • And before anyone says anything - i know that traders are free to change their tactics, and if a strategy doesn't work for you anymore (chasing MB) you should adapt or lose out. I have no qualms with that and i like the way the market is currently highly focused on PB and chasing dividends.

    However, the extent to which the bets have been changed by this shift - which we were assured was nothing more than a minor tweak - does concern me.

  • @Wotabeast the thing is their research could well have been correct for last season considering Pogba and Hazards domination of the media but FI cant predict who or what the media will write about its really the same as us trying to predict how many PB wins a player will get a season. So to be fair they can only go by historic data they cant predict the future and the favourites dont always win.

    They have messed up by telling us that squad players will would have only won 7% of the time when they should have said that research shows that media favours the top 200 but they cant guarantee trends in the media. But know we are all focused in on the 7% figure. For me i see it as MB is completely out of FI’s control with is comforting as it shows no manipulation apart from when they pick and choose which stories are eligible or not.

  • @Black-wolf Very true - and i have no doubt that FI's research was genuine. Could they have widened their analysis period to correct for potential anomalies in the news cycle? Perhaps.

    The error was possibly, as you suggest, how FI tried to soften the blow by emphasising the 7% figure, when in reality this is something that is very hard to predict. I feel though that if they hadn't put the 7% figure up, we could have seen some catastrophic drops in players and a lot of panic amongst traders.

    The truth is that it looks like they have made a major change to the index, and tried to play it down as much as possible at the time of the announcement. So for me they either had to be more honest up front and say "this might happen but it is unpredictable so we can't say for sure", or just not make such a big change. Or perhaps make the change in increments rather than all in one go? Could they have made it a top 250, then a top 300, then a top 350 etc. over the course of a year, to soften the blow and make the adjustment a more gradual thing for traders?

  • @Wotabeast If a player outside the top 200 wins MB then the next day should add a penny to their category for MB, win win for all.

  • As much as it pains me to say it, MB has clearly changed dramatically and is now much more of a lottery than before. It barely features in a lot of my trading decisions now, which of course is exactly what FI wants as it tries to phase out large and long running MB payouts to customers.

    FI either deliberately misled its customers with that 7% figure or is just plain incompetent. I don't believe that any genuine statistical research could have been that far off.

    It's also rather telling that FI said they would release their research behind the 7% figure and then didn't. Obviously they have something to hide.

  • @ocs123 They did release was published on Twitter the same week they said they would.

  • @Wotabeast Those are all valid points. Even though I'm very much in favour of MB opening up I can see why some feel aggrieved.

    I think a few factors need to be considered.

    Pogba. The biggest MB player has been injured, (appears to) be at peace with his manager and has been relatively quiet on social media. I don't think this will last long though and we'll soon see him back on top, for one reason or another.

    Neymar. As with Pogba, long term injury and no transfer spec.

    Summer Transfer. If I recall correctly, the precedent given by FI was for the summer? Where transfer spec dominated. Mostly Neymar and Pogba. We are now in the middle of the season where the focus is on matches and not speculation. This will change again though in the summer (not so much next year due to Euros, but 2021, 2022 etc).

    Gomes horror injury, Loris horror injury and Xhaka winding up the fans. Some strange events so far this season which nobody could have predicted.

    I'm sure there's more but those are the main reasons I wouldn't want to judge just yet. I understand that FI could have done better and the precedent could have been wider, but opening up MB is definitely progress. See Gomes, Lori's and Xhaka stories, which would have been missed otherwise. Surely they deserve dividends paying out as all are match related?

  • @Metropolis Very valid points - and i feel they do mitigate any concerns somewhat.

    49 days is definitely still too small a sample size to judge definitively - though there is definitely more perspective now than there would have been in the first two weeks after the change, when many traders were complaining.

    I definitely agree that we have had some dominating news stories from non-top 200 players, which might just be bad luck. The Lloris and Gomes injuries and the Xhaka saga have definitely been freak occurences that couldn't be predicted. However they only actually account for 9 of the MB wins in that time.

    Fred, Fabinho and Taison (all single name players) have won 4 times, while there have also been wins for perhaps some of the more predictable players to have gained from MB opening up - Ozil, David Luiz, Zlatan and the media-friendly Danny Rose.

    Another thing to note is that there have been some very low scoring winners - it has definitely been a slow news month in some ways, so perhaps that will even itself up a bit as transfer rumours start gathering pace for January.

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