Chapter 5: Home Advantage
The Home Advantage Defined: The consistent finding that home teams in sport
competitions win over 50% of the games played under a balanced home and away
What Major Professional Team Sport has the Greatest Home Advantage?
- Greatest = Soccer62%
- Professional and American college basketbal61%
- Hockey 58%
- Football 57%
- Lowest = Baseball 53%
Question: Recent Phenomenon?
Is the home advantage a recent phenomenon?
• Travel has increased dramatically
• Crowds have increased in many sports and have become more belligerent
• So maybe the HA is a modern phenomenon??
Pollard & Pollard (2005): Examined long term trends in professional sport
* 2 year advantage
Sport Earliest Modern Advantage
Baseball 59% (1876) 53%
Hockey 72% (1917) 58%
Football 55% (1933) 57%
Soccer 65% (1888) 62%
Basketball 58% (1961) 61%
• Mixed message, there is no consistent trend
• * won’t be asked to know percentages
What about HA in individual sports?
• A home advantage has been found for every individual sport examined
• Example: World Cup Alpine Skiing (Bray & Carron, 1993)
• Examined differences between starting seed and final placement for athletes
competing in their home country
• Found: home skiers improved 16% at home
Country of Origin Start Seed Place
Home 21st 15th
Non-home 20th 30th
What about HA in high school sports?
• Research shows the HA is also present in all high school sports examined
• Gayton and Coombs (1995): Examined the HA in high school basketball • Found: the HA in high school basketball is highly similar to the HA in college
and professional basketball
Is there a home advantage in international competitions among countries?
• Do countries enjoy an increase in their medal count when they host the Olympics?
• Overall winter olympics --> improvement is 4 medals (on average)
• Overall summer olympics --> improvement is 5 medals (on average)
• What are some of the reasons besides HA?
• Familiarity with own facility
• The crowd
• Ability to modify the home facility
Event Measure Home Advantage
Winter Olympics Improvement in medal count Avg = 4 medals
over previous Olympiad
Summer Olympics '' '' Avg = 5 medals
FIFA World Cup Host nation's success Home nation
Soccer reached finals
8/18 = 44.4%
Home nation won
6/18 = 30%
Does every team in every leagure enjoy a HA?
Team Home Away
NY Yankees 47-28 47-34
Kansas City Royals 34-47 24-51
A Conceptual Framework for Home Advantage Research:
Game Game Location Critical Critical Performance
Location Factors Psychological Behaviour Outcome
Home/ Crowd Competitors Competitors Primary
Away Travel Coaches Coaches Secondary
Rules (aggressive) Teritiary
Familiarity Influence of the Rules:
• Courneya and Carron (1990)
• Examined the impact of batting last on the HA in slo-pitch baseball
• Recorded 6,446 league games (double headers; each team batted last in one
• Controlled for: travel (equal distance for both teams), crowds (access equal
for both teams), learning/familiarity (neutral sites)
• FOUND: there is no advantage to batting last! (the home team always bats
• Liardi and Carron (2008)
• Studied hockey faceoff success for home/away teams
• FOUND: home tam won greater percentage of face offs in both the defensive
and offensive zones! (62% - this is extremely high; usually close to 51 or 52%
would be good)
Influence of Travel:
• Pace and Carron (1992)
• Examined the impact of travel on HA in the NHL
• Recorded a large number of travel variables (distance traveled, number of
time zone crossed, direction of travel, # days between games, # successive
games at home, # successive games on road, season game