Warren Buffett has a great investment track record. So perhaps it’s no accident that he declined to offer $1 billion for correctly predicting the outcome of all World Cup knockout stage games, as he did for the NCAA men’s basketball tournament games.The odds of winning Buffett’s NCAA challenge were about one in 7.4 billion, assuming you chose the favorite in each game as selected by FiveThirtyEight’s NCAA model. But the odds of correctly filling out a 16-team knockout tournament such as the World Cup are much shorter.In fact, though there have been some thrilling matches in the knockout stage so far — six of 12 have gone to extra time and only two were decided by more than one goal — the favorite has advanced every time (at least as according to the FiveThirtyEight’s World Cup predictions).Here is the breakdown so far. The following table lists the win probability for the FiveThirtyEight favorite as of the day of the match, along with the cumulative probability of the model having called all knockout stages correctly up to that point in time.For instance, the probability of correctly identifying the winners in each of the first four knockout matches — Brazil over Chile, Colombia over Uruguay, the Netherlands over Mexico and Costa Rica over Greece — was about 23 percent, or one chance in 4.3. And the chance of going 12 for 12, as the FiveThirtyEight favorites have done so far, is just one in 75.It’s an upset, in other words, when all the favorites prevail. On average, we’d have expected three or four upsets through this point in the knockout round.Of course, there are four matches left — counting the World Cup’s third-place playoff between the two semifinal losers. According to the FiveThirtyEight forecasts, Brazil is favored over Germany on Tuesday (even after accounting for Neymar’s injury) and Argentina is slightly favored over the Netherlands on Wednesday. To complete a perfect knockout bracket, Germany would then need to beat the Netherlands in the consolation game while Brazil prevailed over Argentina in the final.All of the remaining matches look pretty close, so the FiveThirtyEight forecasts are likely to fail at some stage. If the model gets the matches right, however, it will have made good on a 1-in-553 chance of calling all 16 knockout stage winners correctly.Incidentally, this isn’t the huge success for the FiveThirtyEight model that it might seem. The FiveThirtyEight forecasts are probabilistic. Teams listed as 75 percent favorites are supposed to win about 75 percent of the time over the long run — not much less than that but also not any more often. There are supposed to be some upsets. If 75 percent favorites are winning 100 percent of the time over the long run instead, that means the forecasts are miscalibrated and overestimating the chances for the underdogs.In this case, the success of the favorites does seem to be mostly a matter of luck. Three games have gone to a penalty shootout so far — pre-match favorites might have a slight edge in those but not much of one. Mexico, meanwhile, was a few minutes away from defeating the Netherlands, and the U.S. was a few inches away from beating Belgium.The best way to test probabilistic forecasts is to check their calibration and to compare them against alternative probabilistic estimates. For example, if your model says that the U.S. has a 40 percent chance of beating Belgium and the consensus betting line gives the U.S. just a 25 percent chance instead, you should bet on the Americans — even though you expect Belgium to win most of the time. So far, the FiveThirtyEight forecasts have done well against consensus betting lines when used in this fashion — although that could reflect good luck, too.
In February of this year, Miller Lite approached Thrillist, and the two companies found they had a “mutual desire to elevate the backyard experience and specifically to put the grill at the forefront,” Rones said. In 2008, Thrillist launched JackThreads, a men’s online shopping site that expanded the company into the e-commerce world. “We’re extremely excited to not only go deeper into a category that we now our readers care so much about, but also to be able to partner with a brand like Miller Lite on such a unique program,” Jody Rones, SVP advertising sales and solutions, said in a press release. Social media is “increasingly more valuable today than five to ten years ago, because, beyond reaching people at the event, we can reach four to five million more people on social,” Rones explained. Rones tells Folio: that the publication began exploring the idea of a vertical focused on grilling at the end of last summer. The decision was based on data measuring audience engagement with Thrillist content, which revealed, “grilling is center stage for our audience.” As such, Miller Lite and Thrillist have created a backyard set in Queens. There they will shoot four videos, two of which will be integrated with the brand and two that will not, also to be shared on social media. The first BBQ event was held in LA last week and the next will take place in Austin, followed by Nashville, New York City, Philadelphia, and Chicago. Some of this branded content may also include videos and photos from the live events throughout the summer, Rones explained. These visuals will be shared on social media to recap each event and let attendees re-live the night, and also to potentially attract a new audience. In conjunction with the launch, Thrillist, partnering with Miller Lite, will host a Backyard BBQ event series. These barbecues will transform urban spaces in six cities across the nation into the “Thrillist x Miller Lite Backyard,” where videos and photos for the vertical will be shot. “In all of our vertical extensions, we first and foremost want to make sure it’s content they [the audience] like,” he explained. The new Grillist vertical is in line with the brand’s long-time strategy. “We at Thrillist have been focused on expanding our vertical strategy,” said Rones. New verticals may be year-round or seasonal, like Grillist, but above all, he emphasized the importance of maintaining Thrillist’s core identity. Through these events, as well as the online content, the publication wants to promote the idea that “the grill is the centerpiece of the backyard […] it’s the essence of summer.” That is part of the reason why Grillist is an “in season” vertical, as a fair amount of their audience can only grill in the summer. Rones confirmed that the vertical will return next summer. The launch of Grillist comes in the wake of other vertical expansions since Thrillist’s conception. The company started as a daily lifestyle newsletter in 2005, and over the years has become an online content network reaching 16 million unique web visitors, with more than 75 offline events produced annually. A screenshot of Grillist Thrillist has announced the launch of ‘Grillist,’ a new vertical dedicated to grilling, which will be live on its website from Memorial Day through Labor Day. Thrillist announced Thrillist Travel, a year-round vertical dedicated to travel, in 2013. On top of that, the brand added an additional 40+ markets that year alone. Grillist will provide Thrillist’s audience with tips, recipes, and all things necessary to enjoy the upcoming summer—and the grill—in their backyard. Content will range from the best marinades on the market to tips from nationally recognized meat experts, and more. In addition, Thrillist wanted to expand upon their events portfolio and reach their audience in a more direct way, creating custom branded content with Miller Lite.