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TV inhibits favoritism by home team judges

Daniel BuenoTV transmission of a Brazilian Championship game appears to inhibit a behavior that, according to a new study, judges routinely engage in, especially in games between small teams: giving generous additional minutes at the end of tied games, or games in which the home team is losing by only one goal, or reducing overtime to the minimum if the home team is winning by just one goal. Coordinated by Bruno Rocha, of the Federal University of Minas Gerais (UFMG), the study indicates that the tendency to favor the home team disappears when there is some type of monitoring on the game, such as TV broadcasting (Applied Economics Letters, 2013). Likewise, disputes between key teams or matches arbitrated by renowned referees do not exhibit this biased behavior. The article’s authors, however, point out that this favoritism by certain judges rarely has practical effects: their actions increase the chance of the home team scoring a goal during overtime by less than 1%. The study analyzed data from official division one matches of the Brazilian Championship between 2004 and 2008 in which the home team won or lost the game by one goal after the 40 minute mark in the second half (each half is 45 minutes).