Leicester City F.C. has won the English Premier League title.
Many of us here stateside have received unsolicited news regarding this upstart soccer club across the pond. What many of you may not know however is that Leicester (pronounced Lester) City’s win in the Premier League may be the biggest underdog story in sports history.
Let me lay this out for all of you to understand just how improbable this little club’s title really was:
Part of the shock of The Foxes winning the Premier League boils down to the lack of parity within the Premier League since its inception. The Premier League was founded as the top tier (think FBS Division for College Football) in 1992, and in that span, only 6 teams have won the EPL title: Manchester United with 13, Chelsea with 4, Arsenal with 3, Manchester City with 2, and Blackburn Rovers with one. LCFC has now added their name to this pantheon and it is clearly a very exclusive club.
Leicester City’s history also adds to the shock of their victory. In the 2014-215 Premier League season, the Foxes finished 11-8-19 (W, D, L) for a less-than-stellar 14th place finish in a 20 team league. The five years previous, LCFC competed in the second tier (FCS equivalent).
The club did so poorly, that in the 2008-09 season, they were relegated to the third tier league. That is an impressive climb and a very rapid one similar to if Appalachian State were to get into the College Football Playoff this year.
And to cap off this incredible re-telling of LCFC’s improbable rise, here are some betting stats to give context to their title. As illustrated brilliantly by ESPN, the 5000-1 odds that Leicester City were given to win the Premier League are worse than:
“Here are some other bets (legal in England, not the U.S.) offered at those odds by William Hill:
• Elvis is found alive.
• Yeti or Loch Ness Monster is proven to exist.
• Christmas is the warmest day of the year in England.
• Kanye West and Kim Kardashian name their next child Sinner.
• Kim Kardashian becomes the U.S. president in 2020.
• Barack Obama plays cricket for England after he leaves Oval Office.”
From the sports side of things, those 5000-1 odds are worse than both the Atlanta Braves and Philadelphia Phillies odds (500-1) to win the World Series, worse than the Cleveland Browns winning the Super Bowl (200-1), and were equivalent to Cal State Bakersfield winning the NCAA Tournament this year.
These odds were so ridiculous that England bookkeeping organization Ladbrokes stated that 25 million British pounds would be paid out to bettors; that sum equates to approximately $36,666,500 million here stateside. The pay-out from this victory is so extreme that it has been reported by The Telegraph that the 5000-1 odds will never happen again.
And just think about how these poor folk must be feeling right about now:
“A handful of Leicester fans will have mixed feelings after being persuaded to cash out their 5,000-1 bets several weeks ago. They include an unnamed Warwickshire man who accepted £72,000 for his £50 bet from Ladbrokes in March. He now knows he would have been £178,000 better off if, like his team, he had held his nerve.”
Congratulations to the Foxes on an unbelievably improbable run at a title, one of the biggest in sports history to say the least.