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Echoes: what happens when football is played behind closed doors?

Author

Listed:
  • J. James Reade

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

  • Dominik Schreyer

    () (Wissenschaftliche Hochschule für Unternehmensführung (WHU))

  • Carl Singleton

    () (Department of Economics, University of Reading)

Abstract

We use a series of natural experiments in association football (soccer) to test whether the lack of social pressure from spectators affected behaviour and outcomes. We observe that the normal advantage to the home team from playing in their own stadium was on average eroded when they played behind closed doors, with no supporters. Among the various effects from no fans being present, visiting players were cautioned significantly less often by referees. This suggests that closed doors matches are different because referees favour the home team less in their decision making. We discuss these findings in the light of the Covid-19 pandemic that has led to the remainder of the 2019/20 European football season playing out in empty stadiums.

Suggested Citation

  • J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Echoes: what happens when football is played behind closed doors?," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-14, Department of Economics, Reading University.
  • Handle: RePEc:rdg:emxxdp:em-dp2020-14
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    File URL: http://www.reading.ac.uk/web/FILES/economics/emdp202014.pdf
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    Citations

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    Cited by:

    1. Kai Fischer & Justus Haucap, 2020. "Does Crowd Support Drive the Home Advantage in Professional Soccer? Evidence from German Ghost Games during the Covid-19 Pandemic," CESifo Working Paper Series 8549, CESifo.
    2. Scoppa, Vincenzo, 2020. "Social Pressure in the Stadiums: Do Agents Change Behavior without Crowd Support?," IZA Discussion Papers 13595, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    3. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Eliminating supportive crowds reduces referee bias," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-25, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    4. Bryson, Alex & Dolton, Peter & Reade, J. James & Schreyer, Dominik & Singleton, Carl, 2020. "Experimental Effects of an Absent Crowd on Performances and Refereeing Decisions during COVID-19," IZA Discussion Papers 13578, Institute of Labor Economics (IZA).
    5. Kai Fischer & Justus Haucap, 2020. "Betting Market Efficiency in the Presence of Unfamiliar Shocks: The Case of Ghost Games during the Covid-19 Pandemic," CESifo Working Paper Series 8526, CESifo.
    6. Alex Bryson & Peter Dolton & J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Causal effects of an absent crowd on performances and refereeing decisions during Covid-19," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-18, Department of Economics, Reading University.
    7. Dilger, Alexander & Vischer, Lars, 2020. "No home bias in ghost games [Kein Heimspielvorteil bei Geisterspielen]," Discussion Papers of the Institute for Organisational Economics 7/2020, University of Münster, Institute for Organisational Economics.
    8. Massimiliano Ferraresi & Gianluca Gucciardi, 2020. "Team performance and audience: experimental evidence from the football sector," Working papers 94, Società Italiana di Economia Pubblica.
    9. Cueva, Carlos, 2020. "Animal Spirits in the Beautiful Game. Testing social pressure in professional football during the COVID-19 lockdown," OSF Preprints hczkj, Center for Open Science.
    10. Christian Deutscher & David Winkelmann & Marius Otting, 2020. "Bookmakers' mispricing of the disappeared home advantage in the German Bundesliga after the COVID-19 break," Papers 2008.05417, arXiv.org, revised Aug 2020.
    11. Dominik Schreyer & Sascha L. Schmidt & Benno Torgler, 2020. "Using reminders with different reward opportunities to reduce no-show behavior: Empirical evidence from a large-scale field experiment in professional sport," CREMA Working Paper Series 2020-19, Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA).
    12. J. James Reade & Dominik Schreyer & Carl Singleton, 2020. "Stadium attendance demand during the COVID-19 crisis: Early empirical evidence from Belarus," Economics Discussion Papers em-dp2020-20, Department of Economics, Reading University.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Home Advantage; Referee Bias; Social Pressure; Attendance; Natural Experiments; Sports Economics; Coronavirus;

    JEL classification:

    • C90 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Design of Experiments - - - General
    • D91 - Microeconomics - - Micro-Based Behavioral Economics - - - Role and Effects of Psychological, Emotional, Social, and Cognitive Factors on Decision Making
    • L83 - Industrial Organization - - Industry Studies: Services - - - Sports; Gambling; Restaurants; Recreation; Tourism
    • Z20 - Other Special Topics - - Sports Economics - - - General

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