In the comments to my piece yesterday regarding fans as inputs, Rob MacDonald pointed out a study showing that home crowds can affect official decision making. Here's the link he posted to a paper by Mohr and Kelly (1998) if y'all don't want to go back to the comments there.
Examined umpire allocations of rewards to (1) teams from the same state (instate) as the central umpires and (2) teams from other states (outstate) in 171 Australian rules football matches over a period of 4 yrs. Data were game statistics. For each game, the statistics included the final score, the number of free kicks awarded to each team, the location, the names of the field umpires, and the crowd size. The dependent variable was the number of free kicks received by each team in a match. The instate teams received significantly more free kicks than the outstate teams did in matches between them. The extent of the instate adjudication advantage varied by year; it was significantly greater for matches on an instate home ground than for matches on an outstate home ground. The umpires manifested ingroup favoritism in rewards of low value-salience (obstruction of outgroup scoring opportunities) rather than in rewards of high value-salience (facilitation of ingroup scoring opportunities). (PsycINFO Database Record (c) 2009 APA, all rights reserved)
And here's a piece by Rob Simmons writing over at Dave Berri's fine Wages of Wins in which he describes research that he, David Forrest, and Babatunde Buraimo have done on the matter of referee bias. The kicker: it appears officials favor the home team, and the crowd may have an effect.
Intriguingly, for Germany, lenient treatment of home players is much less pronounced when the sample includes only matches at stadia where the field has a running track around it. This is suggestive that crowd influence on referees is reduced if the crowd is well back from the action. So our analysis suggests that referees can indeed be intimidated. And the level of intimidation is influenced by of all things, how the stadium is constructed.
Yes, Virginia, capital and labor are complements in production. And here's an earlier post in which I was writing about complementarity between players and facilities and didn't realize that I was writing about fans as an input as well (consider that an unintended assumption).
Lastly, as I was driving down to Columbia, Mo. for tonight's (very wet!) Missouri-Nebraska game, I picked up the Louisiana State University's Les Miles coach's show broadcast out of NOLA. LSU plays in arguably the biggest game of the week nationwide when they take on conference rival Florida. Not only are these teams ranked 1st (UF) and 4th (LSU) in the current Associated Press Poll, these two teams have won the last three BCS titles and 4 of the last 6. It won't be too hard for the LSU faithful to get up for this game. During his program, Coach Miles talked fondly about his home crowd and how they were going to play an integral part in his team's game.
Fans are an important part of the game. They are paying customers but they can also have an impact on the field, meaning that they are an input. But unlike the typical way we think of "workers" - people who have to be paid to offer their "labor", fans' "labor" is generated spontaneously once they are in the park.