How do the rewards for a victory influence the soccer teams' offensiveness? The authors argue that a "home bias" induces the home team to play excessively offensively, in the sense that the home team does not maximize the tangible returns from a match. When the rewards for a victory are increased, the opportunity costs of playing excessively offensively rise, so that the home team chooses a more defensive playing style. Therefore, an increase in the rewards for a victory leads to the counterintuitive result of a more defensive soccer match if the home bias is sufficiently strong and if the levels of offensiveness of the teams are strategic substitutes. The authors test their theoretical hypotheses with data on the German soccer premier league. If the home bias is proxied for by the number of spectators relative to the stadium capacity, the authors find support for the theoretical predictions. The results have implications for the design of soccer competitions.

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Journal of Sports Economics
Erasmus School of Economics

Dewenter, R., & Namini, J. E. (2013). How to Make Soccer More Attractive? Rewards for a Victory, the Teams' Offensiveness, and the Home Bias. Journal of Sports Economics, 14(1), 65–86. doi:10.1177/1527002511412323