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Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports

An official journal of the American Statistical Association

Editor-in-Chief: Glickman, PhD, Mark

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Between-seasons competitive balance in European football: review of existing and development of specially designed indices

Vasileios Manasis
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Statistics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece
  • Email:
/ Ioannis Ntzoufras
  • Department of Statistics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Athens, Greece
Published Online: 2014-06-17 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2013-0107


Competitive balance is a key issue for any professional sport league substantiated by its effect on demand for league games or other associated products. This work focuses on the measurement of between-seasons competitive balance, the longest time-wise dimension, which captures the relative quality of teams across seasons. The review of the existing indices examines their applicability in the context of European football. Given that domestic championships are multi-prized tournaments, as opposed to the more common North American unitary structure with a single prize, a set of specially designed indices that capture the complex structure of European football are introduced. An empirical investigation, using data from the English Premier League, further elucidates the main features of all appropriate indices by exploring their value and trend. It may be inferred that between-seasons competitive balance in England worsens through seasons mainly due to the very low ranking mobility of the top teams through seasons.

Keywords: competitive balance; English Premier League; European football; professional sport leagues; sport economics


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About the article

Corresponding author: Vasileios Manasis, Department of Statistics, Athens University of Economics and Business, Patision 76 Athens 10434, Greece, e-mail:

Published Online: 2014-06-17

Published in Print: 2014-06-01

The seasonal dimension refers to the relative quality of teams in the course of a particular season.

Even though they do not refer to Haan et al. (2007), Mizak, Neral and Stair (2007) propose the adjusted churn, which is fundamentally the same as the normalised index of dynamics.

For instance, the first two teams can be equally weighted by replacing DNt,1 by DNt,2 in (19).

The decline in competitive balance noticed in aG, is attributed to the fact the index is calculated using the number of teams entering the top five positions in a five seasons span.

A partial index provides information for a few teams, whereas a summary index provides information for all the teams that make up the league.

Citation Information: Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, ISSN (Online) 1559-0410, ISSN (Print) 2194-6388, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jqas-2013-0107. Export Citation

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