How Transfermarkt Helps Determine the Value of Soccer Players
This is what the site was designed for: to provide a source of knowledge, a point of reference and, through its buzzing discussion forums, a gathering place for a community of like-minded individuals (read: a little cheesy). But that’s not what he’s famous for, that’s not what made him famous.
Trying to place a specific value on an individual football player is like capturing the beauty of a sunrise. The frenetic commercial activity of sport is, in the words of Thomas Lintz, CEO of Transfermarkt, a “market without many of the classic market factors”. A player can be invaluable to one club and worthless to another. Values can skyrocket or tumble depending on a manager’s whim, a bad game, or the emergence of a superior rival.
Yet for years Transfermarkt have tried to provide a guideline on the approximate cost of each individual player, from Messi to Mozambique, through what he calls his market values: an estimate of value based on the labor of thousands. of volunteers and scrutinized by the 80 employees of the site.
It was this one detail – which is, in essence, just a participatory estimate of a valuation – that transformed Transfermarkt from a single point of light in the great digital constellation of football into something close. from a shooting star, which transformed it, inexorably, from a site designed to reflect the ever-bubbling transfer scene of sport into one that now defines it.
The journey from Bremen to Hamburg takes just over an hour. At the turn of the century, he felt much further for Matthias Seidel. Advertising executive and avid fan of Werder Bremen, his local team, Seidel had moved to Hamburg, the German media capital, for work.
Following the fortune of her beloved Werder, however, has proven to be nearly impossible. The Internet was still in its infancy as a source of information. The Hamburg press barely contained a mention of all the transfer gossip that had been so thoroughly covered in the Bremen newspapers.
Seidel decided to take on the job himself. He created a website, initially designed to keep track of the players Werder had linked with signing, whether in local or national news media. It was rudimentary: he wrote their names on a spreadsheet, added whatever little detail he could establish, and published.
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