Does Crowd Support Drive the Home Advantage in Professional Soccer? Evidence from German Ghost Games During the Covid-19 Pandemic

22 Pages Posted: 23 Sep 2020

See all articles by Kai Fischer

Kai Fischer

affiliation not provided to SSRN

Justus Haucap

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Department of Economics; German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin)

Date Written: 2020

Abstract

This paper examines the relation between crowd support and home advantage in professional football in making use of a unique “natural experiment” induced by restrictions due to the Corona pandemic: so-called ghost games in the top three German football divisions during the 2019/2020 season. We find that there is a reduced home advantage in the first division, whereas no change is observed in the second and third division. Our regression analysis indicates that the decrease in the home advantage and the heterogeneity across divisions are not sensitive to a variety of performance, location, and team covariates and best explained by the lower occupancy rate in the stadia. Hence, the decrease in occupancy to zero at the ghost games has been less dramatic for teams that have been used to low occupancy rates. The ghost game effect decreases over time, however, implying that players adapt and get used to the new situation. We cannot find strong evidence for a change in referee behavior or teams' tactics as main impact channels of occupancy rates on the home advantage. We rather assess psychological reasons to be of higher importance.

Keywords: home advantage, Corona pandemic, professional soccer, stadium occupancy

JEL Classification: Z200, Z210

Suggested Citation

Fischer, Kai and Haucap, Justus, Does Crowd Support Drive the Home Advantage in Professional Soccer? Evidence from German Ghost Games During the Covid-19 Pandemic (2020). CESifo Working Paper No. 8549, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3697062

Kai Fischer (Contact Author)

affiliation not provided to SSRN

No Address Available

Justus Haucap

Heinrich Heine University Dusseldorf - Department of Economics ( email )

Duesseldorf
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.dice.uni-duesseldorf.de

German Institute for Economic Research (DIW Berlin) ( email )

Mohrenstraße 58
Berlin, 10117
Germany

Here is the Coronavirus
related research on SSRN

Paper statistics

Downloads
62
Abstract Views
183
rank
391,581
PlumX Metrics