What’s best for the roster of sports teams – new blood or stability?
The study, “Stability and Performance in Football Teams,” looks at archived data from nine consecutive seasons in the top professional soccer leagues of England and Italy. After assigning each team a “stability index” reflecting its player-retention rate over the nine years, Van Vugt found a strong correlation between all measures of competitive success — league rank, points earned, goals scored and goals allowed — and the stability of the team’s roster.
The so-called stability-performance effect was strong even when controlling for a team’s previous league performances, the age of its players and the wealth of the team as measured by the amount it paid for new players. (Unlike the more tightly-regulated American leagues, English and Italian soccer have few restrictions on the amount teams can spend acquiring new players each season and what it pays them, affording a greater competitive advantage, it would seem, to wealthy clubs). The effect was consistent among top teams and cellar-dwellers alike.
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