Questions for ‘Empty stadium ‘ghost games’ increase losses for home teams’

a referee holds up a yellow card amid during a soccer game in Germany

Due to pandemic restrictions, two German soccer clubs play in an empty stadium here on May 16, 2020. Without fans, referees issued more foul calls — signified by yellow cards — against home teams than when fans had been present.

Michael Probst/Pool via Getty Images

To accompany “Empty stadium ‘ghost games’ increase losses for home teams


Before Reading:

1.  What do sports teams mean when they describe having a home-team advantage?

2.  If that advantage truly exists, what do you think contributes to it?

During Reading:

1.  The story talks about so-called “ghost games.” What does that term mean?

2.  What teams were studied in this ghost-game study? How did their win-loss record change from before the pandemic?

3.  Besides scoring, what other major change was observed in the so-called ghost games?

4.  What are yellow cards and why were they tallied in this study?

5.  Michael Leitner concluded that there had been bias before the ghost games in the sport that he studied, but little afterward. Who was he charging of bias and in what way were these individuals showing bias?

After Reading:

1.  The study points to bias on the part of some participants in sports games. In what sports might this type of bias be more likely to show up? How might sports leagues work to reduce that type of bias once audience attendance at games goes back to pre-pandemic levels? Explain your reasoning.