A Situational Theory of Advantages in Sport
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The purpose of this paper is to provide a systematic explanation of the concept of advantage in the context of sport competitions. Advantage is a common concept in sports, but it also holds ambiguities that need clarification. Let’s say, for example, that the national soccer team of Brazil is playing the national team of Finland and is ahead 5 to 0. Finland receives a penalty kick due to a refereeing error. At this point, which of the teams has the advantage? In this paper, I answer this question through a systematic explanation of the concept of advantage. My theory is based on Sigmund Loland’s view that advantage can be distributed both formally and informally in sport competitions. I will develop Loland’s notion of formal advantage by introducing what I call an absolute sense of advantage - a relation of superiority that is based on the performances of two competitors. I replace informal advantage with what I refer to as an expectancy sense of advantage, which is related to expectations regarding the absolute advantage. These two senses of advantage have different functions, and I conclude that advantage is a phenomenon that plays a vital role in all sport competitions through these two senses - absolute and expectancy.
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