The article that came to mind was one proposing a rating system for gaelic football teams. It appeared in the International Journal of Computer Science in Sport. The primary purpose of the article was to advocate for a modified version of a system used to rate chess players. The article also examined factors that influenced the success of teams. The correlation between the rating values and financial figures threw up one very interesting result.
Dublin was the highest rated team at the end of 2015. This rating was derived using 1,101 games between 2010 and 2015. Dublin also received by far the largest amount of Games Development Income per registered player from the sport's governing body (the GAA). According to the authors, Dublin received more than the other top 10 teams combined (MacKenna makes similar comparisons). Dublin ranked first in both success and games development income. These facts sit well with the conventional wisdom that Dublin's success is driven by the funding they received from the GAA. There is a part of me that has sympathy with this view.
But the statistical results presented by S. Mangan and K. Collins bring this into question. The correlation between "Games Development Income per registered player" and a team's rating was statistically significant and negative. Negative. The more GDI per registered player a team received from the governing body then the less their chances of success.
The authors of the article do not spend much time discussing the correlation. This is probably a wise decision as there are potentially too many possibilities to be discussed and a limited amount of space to discuss them in. What does the skewed distribution of funding imply for the correlations? Are the results specific to the length of the time period and/or the specific time period selected? Moreover, while many might expect a positive relationship between the two, the most important thing to remember is that "development" is not same as "success". If nothing else then the article should make us pause for thought.
There is little doubt but that the debate will continue.