HSE Scientists Develop Mathematical Algorithm for Russian Premier League’s Season Calendar
The HSE Laboratory of Sports Studies entered into an agreement with the Russian Premier League, Russia’s top division professional association football league, to collaborate on the creation of the League’s calendar for the 2019/2020 season.
The Russian Premier League (RPL) is comprised of 16 teams that play each other in a rotating system of two rounds: each team must play the other in one home match and one away. The tournament calendar indicates which teams play each other in each round. The number of scheduling combinations for a given calendar season is endless.
To compile the RPL match schedule for next season, the HSE Sports Research Laboratory developed a special algorithm that takes into account the calendar’s many requirements. These requirements include clubs’ participation in European Cup tournaments, stadium availability, weather conditions of various regions of Russia, stipulations of the broadcaster, as well as those of the state organs providing event security. In addition, the most important aspect of the calendar is the balance of the schedule from an athletic standpoint.
‘The sports calendar is the foundation of our product. It should take into account the interests of not only the teams and athletes, but also the fans, the main broadcaster and the sponsors,’ said Sergei Pryadkin, head of the RPL.
We changed the very approach to the calendar, to get more variability and to be able to take different interests into account
Since a mathematical algorithm was necessary in order to set the schedule while taking into account so many factors and limitations, the RPL leadership turned to the scientific community. ‘We are very pleased that it was a Russian University – the Higher School of Economics – that came up with the solution to meet our objectives,’ said Sergey Pryadkin.
Head of the Laboratory of Sports Studies
According to RPL marketing director Yevgeny Savin, the algorithm was able to evenly distribute the top matches for the season. Now, in one round, two or even more significant events for the League do not overlap. ‘This is a very important point in terms of marketing and broadcasting,’ Savin said.
The calendar project was agreed upon at the General Assembly of the Premier League on June 6 and submitted for approval by the Football Union of Russia Executive Committee.
The 2019/2020 calendar was aired on Russia’s main sports channel, MATCH (МАТЧ), on June 6 at 23:40.