Promotion and Relegation


Stefan Szymanski & Stephen Ross

Published: June 2001


One of the most distinctive differences between team sports in Europe and North America is the institution of promotion and relegation. This paper looks into the history of why this institution developed in Europe but not North America, and considers what effects it may have on the competitive balance of the leagues. While dominance of the leagues by a small number of wealthy teams is a more severe problem in Europe, its effects are mitigated by the opportunity for new teams to enter from below and the excitement generated by the struggle for survival among the weaker teams.



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