Defying the Odds: How Likely Are We to See Another Team Pull a ‘Leicester’ and Win the EPL?

In 2016, sports fans witnessed the ultimate Cinderella story when Leicester City achieved the unimaginable: emerging as champions of the English Premier League (EPL) despite their 5,000:1 odds offered at the beginning of the season.

Before the start of the 2015–16 season, only five clubs had been crowned champions in the league’s 24-year history. This unprecedented achievement by Leicester City motivated our investigation into how the teams of the EPL transition from season to season; whether a club’s performance in one season is predictive of performance in the following season; and ultimately, how 5,000:1 odds could be justified using this information. Although many may see Leicester City’s success as a fluke, this result also raises questions about which teams regularly make the top tier of the EPL, and which teams are left battling for survival.

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