Description: Is there a home field advantage in professional sports? Regardless of your opinion (or hypothesis) on this question think about this: How could we possibly set up an experiment that would address this question? And if we could, what would be the results? Well, have you already come up with the natural experimental o[opportunity in relation to this question provided by Covid? The European professional leagues played many games over the past year and a bit without any fans in the stands. Yes, of course, there may be MORE to home field advantage that fans in the stands but what would your predictions be for a research question regarding home teach performance with (pre-covid) and without (during covid) fans in the stands at home games? Oh, and how do you think referees would respond? Get your hypotheses in order an then have a look through the article below that talks about recently published research looking at this question.
Source: ‘Ghost games spotlight the psychological effect fans have on referees, Nikk Ogasa, Science News.
Date: August 20, 2021
So, were you surprised by the results of the research reported upon? The presence of hometown fans at soccer games makes a significant difference in BOTH win and loss percentages and in referee behaviour. The sample used for the research was large and so the results are likely valid and robust. So, when you are allowed again, get out and support your local team!
Questions for Discussion:
- How did the of presence of local fans in the stand (and their absence) affect the performance of the home team in European soccer?
- How were the actions of game referees affected by the absence of local fans?
- Given this data, should profession sports leagues make any adjustments as we move into the post Covid world?
References (Read Further):
Leitner, M. C., & Richlan, F. (2021). No Fans–No Pressure: Referees in Professional Football During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Frontiers in Sports and Active Living, 221. Link
Entine, O. A., & Small, D. S. (2008). The role of rest in the NBA home-court advantage. Journal of Quantitative Analysis in Sports, 4(2). Link
Nettleton, D. (1998). Investigating home court advantage. Journal of Statistics Education, 6(2). Link
Price, M., & Yan, J. (2021). The Effects of the NBA COVID Bubble on the NBA Playoffs: A Case Study for Home-Court Advantage. arXiv preprint arXiv:2103.02832. Link
Kotecki, J. (2014). Estimating the effect of home court advantage on wins in the NBA. Link