Today I want to write about the European leagues concept of Relegation or Promotion. It is April and many regular seasons are winding down. If a team was successful, they are probably gearing up for the playoffs. If a team was mediocore, the season will soon be over with no playoffs…a kind of lame duck situation. They will have a spot in the same division next season. If a team was not very successful, that team could be dealing with Relegation games. For those of you reading this that have no idea what relegation means, here is a quick overview. European leagues are not set up like the NBA. A struggling team in the top division will be playing for the right to stay in the top division, while a team in the next lower division will be playing for the right to move up to the top division for next season which is called Promotion. Each country will have their own modus. Some countries dictate that the bottom two teams automatically be relegated to the next lower league (1st division down to 2nd division). The top two teams from the next lower league would then be promoted automatically to the next higher league (2nd division up to 1st division). You cannot skip a division (3rd league to 1st league for example). There are also countries that play in a modus where the bottom teams from the higher division, play the top teams from the next lower division in a playoff. Whoever wins the series, plays in the top league the next season, whereas the losers play in the lower league. There are other types of modi.
There are tangible benefits to playing in a higher league of course. There may be television rights and sponsorships usually increase, amongst other advantages. Of course just the overall right to say that the team is in the top league in the country is a right of passage. Some would say that the games to stay or move up in a league is more exciting than the normal playoffs because in a way it is a fight for existence and relevance. Normal playoff teams know that they will be in the top league the next season whether they win the championship or not. Their place is secure for the next season. Bottom feeders do not have such a guarantee. Their fans are possibly angry, but they support the teams that much more because they do not want their teams to move down a division. On the flip side, the teams in the lower leagues are fighting for their reputation as well. The hard work of a successful season should pay off. Their fans are not angry, but elated. The motivation towards the end of the season is high for both the bottom feeders of the higher division and for the top teams of the lower division.
What is on the line for a team relegated? They will surely lose money from their sponsorships, which means that the budget for the next season will decrease. That also means that many players, both foriegn and domestic, will think hard if they would like to stay and play in a lower division. They would probably have to take some kind of pay cut and players are not usually enthusiastic about not only taking less money but losing the prestige of saying they play in the top league. What is on the line for a newly promoted team? The exact opposite of a team moving down. They can expect that sponsors will ride from the euphoria of promotion and open their wallets. Other sponsors that were on the fence will now want to roll with a winner. That is a part of the business. Players will be more likely to stay, but now the management will have to evaluate those players with more scrutiny because the competition will be harder in the higher league. Some players just won’t be good enough to stay with the team. And because the team will most likely have a higher budget, they will also attract better players because they can pay more. That is also a part of the business. So if you are a casual fan, pay attention to the battles going on at the end of a season. It will be worthwhile to understand the ramifications of relegation and promotion on teams.
Thank you for taking the time to read my words!