# How Do Promoted Teams Perform In Their Next Season?

Aug 15th, 2012 - Posted by in Football

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How do promoted clubs perform once they reach the top flight? And how to we assess their potential? On the blog today Cassini takes a look at promoted clubs and how we can adjust our Elo ratings to predict their form in the new season.

For those of us who maintain ratings for teams in various leagues around the world, the end of every season sees teams relegated and teams promoted. For football, I maintain Elo based ratings for five of the top leagues in Europe – namely in England, France, Germany, Italy and Spain.

With Elo, the total number of points in the pool remains constant, so when relegated teams remove a number of points from the pool, these points need to be reallocated to the promoted teams.

## Adjusting Our Ratings For Promoted Clubs

The way to accomplish this is to sum up the points assigned to the relegated teams, and spread them across the promoted teams. You may feel it makes sense to apportion slightly more points to the ‘best’ promoted team, and less to the ‘worst’ promoted team, but the simplest approach is not necessarily the best.

How much more should be given to the best promoted team over the second and third promoted teams? (By best and worst, I mean that promoted teams typically place first, second or are promoted via a play-off. Best is the team winning the lower league, worst is the team earning promotion via the play-offs).

To help solve this puzzle in a logical way, I keep a record of how promoted teams fared in their first season at the top, and going back over 10 seasons, it is interesting to observe that in England and Spain, on average, the top promoted team fares less well than the second best team.

## Where Do Promoted Clubs Finish?

The average finishing positions for the top promoted teams is 14.8 in England and 15.9 in Spain, whereas the second promoted team has average placements of 14.5 and 13.1.

In France and Germany, the top promoted sides do perform better than the second team, 14.3 to 14.7 in France and 13.0 to 14.75.

Germany is actually an odd-man out here, since the third placed team actually fares better than the second, with an average placing of 14.4.

As is often the case, the situation in Italy is complicated by corruption scandals and league reorganisations, (six teams promoted in 2003-04) making the numbers less meaningful. For example, Juventus won Serie B in 2006-07, and then finished third in Serie A the next season. Not exactly a typical scenario.

Promoted teams don’t do that well. In England, just five of the last 30 promoted teams ended up in the top half of the league – congratulations to Manchester City, West Ham United, Wigan Athletic, Reading and Birmingham City.

In France, the top half finishers are 4 of 31. In Germany 5 of 28, and in Spain 4 of 30. Italy is 5 of 32 including Juventus, so overall, it is clear that promoted teams are up against it.

Going back to the original topic of how to allocate a promoted team the most accurate points total possible, my strategy is to allocate the points so that teams start the new season in the position where, on average, promoted teams in that league finish. In most leagues, these positions are fairly constant, and if you place teams to finish in lower mid-table, you won’t go far wrong.

For my records, promoted teams to the EPL and Ligue 1 will be rated 14th, 15th and 17th. In the Bundesliga, 13th, 14th and 15th, in La Liga 13th, 16th and 17th and in Serie A 11th, 13th and 15th.

It’s important to allocate the points realistically, but it doesn’t seem to me to be worth stressing too much over the anomaly of second placed teams finishing very slightly above first placed teams for example. In the EPL, I have 14th place rated at 1111, 15th at 1103 and 17th at 1095. All very close, and after a game or two the numbers will be.

## Chances Of Promoted Club Survival

Last season saw no promoted club relegated in both the EPL and La Liga. After nine consecutive seasons in both leagues where at least one promoted team went down, all survived. Queens Park Rangers came close, as did Granada, but both finished in 17th place to stay for another year.

All but one season in France has seen at least one promoted team go straight back down, and Germany has three such seasons – with Nuremberg surviving via a play-off in 2009-10. Italy also has three such seasons, but the data there has little integrity.

As for percentages of teams dropping straight back, in the EPL it is 43%, La Liga 40%, Bundesliga 36%, Ligue 1 35% and Serie A 22%.

Third placed teams in England, France and Italy are relegated first time 60% of the time.

For the record, the promoted teams from last season are shown here:

Promotion RankingPremier LeagueLa LigaBundesliga Serie ALigue One
1st Reading Deportivo La Caruna Greuther Furth Pescara Bastia
2nd Southampton Celta de Vigo Eintracht Frankfurt Torino Reims
3rd West Ham United Real Valladolid Fortuna Dusseldorf Sampdoria Troyes