nep-spo New Economics Papers
on Sports and Economics
Issue of 2020‒06‒29
three papers chosen by
Humberto Barreto
DePauw University

  1. Echoes: what happens when football is played behind closed doors? By J. James Reade; Dominik Schreyer; Carl Singleton
  2. Bibliometric indices as a measure of competition in sports By L\'aszl\'o Csat\'o; D\'ora Gr\'eta Petr\'oczy
  3. A comprehensive analysis of soccer penalty shootout designs By L\'aszl\'o Csat\'o; D\'ora Gr\'eta Petr\'oczy

  1. By: 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.
    Keywords: Home Advantage, Referee Bias, Social Pressure, Attendance, Natural Experiments, Sports Economics, Coronavirus
    JEL: C90 D91 L83 Z20
    Date: 2020–06–11
  2. By: L\'aszl\'o Csat\'o; D\'ora Gr\'eta Petr\'oczy
    Abstract: We argue for the application of bibliometric indices to quantify the intensity of competition in sports. The Euclidean index is proposed to reward quality over quantity, while the rectangle index can be an appropriate measure of core performance. Their differences are highlighted through an axiomatic analysis and several examples. Our approach also requires a weighting scheme that allows us to compare different positions. The methodology is illustrated by studying the knockout stage of the UEFA Champions League in the 16 seasons played between 2003 and 2019: club and country performances as well as three types of competitive balance are considered. All results are remarkably robust concerning the bibliometric index and the assigned weights. Inequality has not increased among the elite clubs and between the countries, however, it has changed within some national associations.
    Date: 2020–05
  3. By: L\'aszl\'o Csat\'o; D\'ora Gr\'eta Petr\'oczy
    Abstract: The standard design of soccer penalty shootouts has received serious criticism due to its bias towards the team that kicks the first penalty. The rule-making body of the sport has decided in 2017 to try an alternative mechanism. Although the adoption of the new policy has stalled, academic researchers have recently suggested some other designs to improve fairness. This paper offers an extensive overview of seven such soccer penalty shootout mechanisms, one of them first defined here. Their fairness are analysed in three different mathematical models of psychological pressure. We also consider the probability of reaching the sudden death stage, as well as the complexity and strategy-proofness of the designs. Some rules are found to be inferior as they do not lead to a substantial gain in fairness compared to simpler mechanisms. Our work has the potential to impact decision-makers who can save resources by choosing only theoretically competitive designs for field experiments.
    Date: 2020–04

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