Trading the Eurovision song contest

Of all the markets I trade, the Eurovision song contest has to be one of the daftest, from a number of perspectives. Even if you are not watching it, you should take a look at the Eurovision market this evening. From a betting and trading perspective, it can throw up some interesting opportunities.

I don’t know why, but for some reason, I always get drawn back to it each year. It can’t be to watch a winning song from the UK as they seems remarkably remote each year. I grew up with Terry Wogan’s wit, which was skillfully replaced by Graham Norton a few years ago.

Market turnover and trading conditions

The Eurovision can be surprisingly liquid and turnover seems to be growing year on year. Last year it reached £6.5m and it’s already nearly £4m this year. Driven by sentiment initially, the market moves slow and deliberately. This occurs from the early stages into the qualification for the final, then into the final itself. When the voting starts all hell is let loose,

Voting patterns

For many years the voting was very political and predictable. Given the UK’s two-finger salute to Europe, our relationship with the contest has tanked over the years from a friendly voting perspective. Katrina and the Waves winning entry is a distant memory for the UK and until we come up with a Conchita Wurst Eurovision entry, I don’t see the UK returning to the top any time soon.

But, excluding the UK, geographical and political biases still exist in the contest.

After declining towards a farce the contest decided to reform the public votes to make it a jury and televoting split. But it turned out that this just made the market volatility even more extreme than before. While that makes the contest a bit random, that’s more or less exactly what you want from a trading perspective.

Trading patterns

I’ve done well by backing outsiders that shorten during the contest in the past and early voting patterns can often give you the ability to dutch a range of long odds into shorter prices. Don’t leave it too late to get out though, as winners can become apparent very quickly and will shorten fast.

As I’ve stated above the Jury & Televoting patterns can create some really odd markets, so watch out for the timing and release of this information, thrown it with a bit of political voting this can really shift the markets about. There was some excellent analysis done in 2016 which looked at these patterns and it concluded, hilariously, that the judges on the jury misread individual voting intentions almost perfectly. So you can safely read nothing into the jury points. The correlation was just 0.01!

My biggest ever success came from backing Lordi a few years ago to win. Finland was embarrassed by the entry till they realised the performance struck a chord with the voters and their price shot in from 65’s. This year, Cyprus is currently hovering around 2.50 from 450 at their weakest.

Hints and tips

I have already highlight geographic and political bias as one aspect of the competition and the lack of correlation between individuals and their country judges. But one of the increasingly good lead indicators now on the competition is social media. YouTube and Twitter will be flush with content applicable to the contest and it’s increasingly providing a good steer on the televoting outcome. So my top tip is to focus in on that if you want to get ahead of the voting. Of course, this is Eurovision, so anything can happen so its’ always worth having a bit of money on exactly that occurring.

As for me, I’ll skip the singing and tune in for the voting. Hopefully, I will get more than ‘null point’ in profit terms.

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