Friday, March 1, 2013

MLS : More like Germany, less like England?

So awhile ago I did a look at the season over season correlation in MLS and the PRemiership and found that there's much less correlation in MLS than there is in England. i.e. Good teams in the Premiership tend to stay good, and bad teams tend to stay bad, and there's not much surprise in where teams are going to end up. Conversely, in MLS, each season tends to be a new season and it's much harder to predict where a team will finish based on how they performed last season. I thought maybe that I should take a look at some of the other leagues and ee how they stood up and the first one I looked at was the Bundesliga. I was a little surprised to see that there's actually less correlation in the Bundesliga than there is in MLS. The highest correlation there was in the 2008-2009 season, with an R value of 0.65, but the last two seasons have been highly variable, with correlation values of 0.08. The average correlation over 5 seasons was 0.30 while the R^2 value was 0.087, lower than even MLS.

In looking at the numbers, this actually seems to have been an artifact of typically dominant teams like Schalke, Stuttgary, Weder Bremen and Wolfsburg all doing poorly in 2010-2011 and then doing well again in 2011-2012. I'm not sure there's that much to read out of it and sort of wonder if looking at a wider set of data would come to a different result, but I do think now that the German system seems to foster more pairty than the English system and seems to be comparable to MLS, while still able to create competetive teams that do well in European competition.

Here's the chart.

Some day I'll do a good side by side comparison of each of the worlds major leagues, but for now, it seems like MLS is trending more like the Bundesliga than the Premiership in terms of team parity, and I think that's a good thing.

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