Moneyball refers to a technique used by Billy Beane, the general manager of the Oakland Athletics. At the end of the 1990s, he formed a new baseball team with significant resistance from his own scouts, based on Sabermetrics, a system much derided in baseball at the time. He signed players who had fallen through the cracks based on the statistics in use at the time and were therefore offered at bargain basement prices on the transfer market. The magic of this new development in statistics was that it not only took into account particular performance aspects, but also playersʼ overall performance, at the same time looking at factors such as season and stadium influences. Despite clear financial inferiority over the competition the Oakland Athletics succeeded in making it to the North American play-offs seven times between 2000–2013 – with the lowest possible average cost per victory in Major League Baseball (MLB).
The Moneyball principles obviously cannot be applied directly to football, it being far more dynamic and complex than baseball, which generally consists of a few recurring standard situations. Nevertheless, in 2015 the Dutch division league team Twente Enschede engaged Billy Bean to help it find new approaches to football. However, it was not a Dutch professional club or one of the leading teams from Barcelona, Manchester or Munich that made a committed effort to employ the Moneyball principles. Rather it was FC Midtjylland, a division league team in rural Denmark that was the first professional club to assemble its professional team exclusively according to mathematical models and algorithms and evaluate club performance independently of its current standing in the charts using its own rating model. Thanks to its radical implementation of the Moneyball principal, FC Midtjylland are the Danish champions in 2015, and compared with the competition, they did so with a relatively low budget for players.