Unlike previous research on the concept of rivalry, the specific focus of this study is on the dynamic relationships between on-field performances of rival clubs. The author analyzes causality structures between league performances of major rival clubs in Europe's leading divisions in order to assess whether the rivalry between two clubs establishes causality between their performances. The results show that causal relationships hold for less than half of the rivalries, and most of these rivalries involve a success brings success type of dynamic relationship. These findings imply some of the football rivalries in Europe had their roots in other sources than performance, and when devising their strategies, sport managers should take measures to avoid substantial decoupling of team performances from fans' perceptions. (C) 2016 Sport Management Association of Australia and New Zealand. Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.