In their latest paper, NOUS member Justus Haucap and Kai Fischer examine the relation between crowd support and home advantage in professional soccer. For that purpose, they make use of a unique „natural experiment“: so-called ghost games in the three top divisions of German professional soccer during the Corona pandemic. They find that there is a reduced home advantage in the first division, whereas no change can be observed in the second and third division. The regression analysis indicates that the decrease in the home advantage and the different effects across the three divisions are not sensitive to a variety of performance, location, and team covariates and most suitably explained by the lower occupancy rate in the stadia. Hence, the decrease in the occupancy rates to zero at the ghost games has been less dramatic for teams that have been used to low occupancy rates.
The full paper is available here.