Iberian Oligopolies

Iberian Oligopolies

The following diagrams represent novelty in the winners of the Spanish and Portuguese leagues dating back to their inceptions.

For each champion an arc links the season back to the last time that club won the title. The arcs are all semi-circular so the size of leaps are represented by their width as well as their height. If a club had never won the league before their arc stretches off to infinity i.e. is a straight line that reaches the edge of the image (which, in practice, is not quite infinity pixels wide). In short: large arcs and straight lines show novelty, small arcs show repetition.

I have previously applied this graphical treatment to the English and Scottish championships and you can read more about the rationale behind the diagram in those posts.

There have only been two new champions since 1946: Real Sociedad and Deportivo de La Coruña. Both play in blue and white striped shirts.

Even when accounting for the suspension of the league during the Spanish Civil War, Real Madrid’s failure to win the title between 1933 and 1954 is the longest drought suffered by either themselves or Barcelona. After this gap of 17 seasons, Real Madrid’s next longest has been 5.

All but two Portugese titles have been won by Porto, Benfica or Sporting CP.

From 1953/54 to 1973/74, Sporting won the title in an evenly-spaced sequence of once every four years. The last three of the three-season gaps were filled entirely by titles won by Benfica.

There have only been five occasions when any one of the big three has gone more than six seasons without a title. One of these is Sporting’s current drought.

The two charts back-to-back: