Inside the NBA Bubble: How Black Players Performed Better without Fans

Research output: Working paperResearch

In the NBA, predominantly Black players play in front of predominantly non-Black fans. Using the 'NBA bubble', a natural experiment induced by COVID-19, we show that the performance of Black players improved significantly with the absence of fans vis-à-vis White players. This is consistent with Black athletes being negatively affected by racist pressure from mostly non-Black audiences. We dispel several alternative hypotheses. Beyond hurting individual players, fans' behavior causes significant economic damage to the NBA by lowering the quality of the game.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 2022

ID: 336469195