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Posted on 28 May 2017

Today we're going to be taking an in depth look at what is a key element of the Football Index with the Media Buzz System. Amongst other things, we'll look at how it works by going into deeper details of the science behind how points are awarded.

But Before we start getting that far into the subject, let's first take a quick run through of what the Buzz is and how it is used on the Index.

The Buzz system sits at the heart of the Football Index and is in the main, what drives up a player's value. Each day players listed on the main squad list accumulate points for stories associated with them from a number of news sources. At midnight, the player with the most points wins the Buzz. Traders who own futures in the winner are then awarded a 5p dividend payout for every future they own in that player. So for instance, owning 100 futures would net you a nice £5 dividend win.

IMPORTANT UPDATE: Since publishing this article, Football Index have introduced Triple Media Buzz days. This means that on non-match days, the top 3 players return dividends. The payout structure on Triple Media days is 1st Place: 8p, 2nd Place 5p and 3rd Place 2p. On match days, Football Index delivers the standard 1st Place 5p winner.

With 365 winners each year, it's easy to see why those players who win the buzz most often are the highest priced players to buy.

A very important point to make whenever the buzz is mentioned, is that you must own your futures in a player for 24 hours in order to win the dividend payout. This can catch out investors who are new to the Index. It's also worth noting that because of the payout taking place just after midnight, you often see price drops in players shortly after midnight as owners look to maximise their profit when another Buzz win doesn't look likely. If you have a tight profit margin on a potential Buzz winner, make sure you consider that a price drop may outweigh the dividend return you will receive and weigh up if selling early whilst at his peak price may be best.

So now the question is, how exactly are those buzz points awarded? Well, let's take a look at the finer details and delve a little deeper. Brace yourselves!

We know that Football Index awards points based on articles found in a number of different news sources. Browsing a few players will show a good selection of them but for good measure, the full list currently includes 20 different sources. They are:

3. The FA
6. Football League
7. Daily Mail
8. Daily Star
9. The Times
10. Telegraph
11. Independent
12. Express
13. Guardian
14. Metro
15. Daily Mirror
16. BBC
17. Football365
19. Huffington Post
20. Sky Sports

As you can see, the list heavily favours British media outlets which helps fuel the leaning towards English and Premier League based players in particular as the major buzz winners. However this does give traders a slight advantage when it comes to picking up Buzz players, as we know the media tend to favour certain clubs and players in particular.

What you're still probably wondering is exactly how these stories are converted into points. Does someone at Football Index painstakingly look through all of these websites on a 24 hour basis to spot the stories, read them and award points as they see fit? Or maybe they have a room full of highly trained robots to do this for them? The answer sadly, is much less exciting.

Here is where we get a bit technical! Scores are worked out using what is called sentiment analysis. This also goes by the terms 'opinion mining' and 'emotion AI'. More specifically, they use a sentiment analysis model called AFINN-111, which was created in Denmark by Finn Arup Nielsen. What this clever chap devised is a list of English words which he has then given a score ranging from -5 to +5 depending on their perceived positive or negative meanings. Currently the list sits at over 2400 words and phrases.

The process begins with checking the previously mentioned news RSS feeds for player names currently listed on the Index. Remember, the headline must include a player's full name as determined by how it is shown on the Index in order for the article to be used.

Here it's worth mentioning the previous list of news feeds that are used. Whilst it looks comprehensive, you might be wondering for instance why Sky Sports news stories do not seem to show up very often. Taking a look at the Sky Sports website, we can see that they hardly ever use a player's full name in their headlines. There is also the occasional issue of players with accents in their name not being correctly picked up, however Football Index are usually quick to correct this. Once an article has been found, it then applies the sentiment analysis to the words in the headline to determine a score.

Whilst that sounds somewhat complicated - mainly because it is - we can now begin to understand how Football Index is translating headlines into points. For instance, on the word list we can see that the word 'outstanding' receives +5 points. Thus an article that says something like "Harry Kane scores yet another outstanding hat-trick" would be picked up and tagged with 5 points.

But we are not done yet! As we know, points actually awarded in the Buzz system range from 20 points up to 240 per story. So the final twist comes when these totals are used in a further calculation made by Football Index themselves. This turns the smaller numbers delivered from the sentiment score into the final scores we see displayed on the Buzz list. The exact formula is: 2 x (sentimentscore +1) x 10. So for example, if the headline read "Why Victor Lindelof misses Manchester United v Watford" the headline would score 3 points for 'Victor' and 1 point for 'United' giving a total of 4 points. If we put that into the formula, we get: 2 x (4+1) x 10 = 100points.

Whilst the Buzz system is not quite perfect, once you understand the workings behind the scores, it at least starts to make sense. Knowing the little quirks such as full names being required, it hopefully clears up some of the mystery as to why certain articles do not make it onto the list.

The other great part of using this system is that it's much easier to generate a daily winner using a consistent method. Whilst there is an ever increasing number of games being played on more days than ever, using this system means that even without any games being played, Football Index can still deliver a daily winner. Knowing these deeper elements to the Index can only help you make better decisions and choices when it comes to buying or selling your players.


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