Home Field Advantage In Sports


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There is nothing like taking the first step onto the field or court and looking into the stands and seeing your fan base. Having your friends, family, school, and community all gather around in one location, with one common objective as they cheer for you is one of the most rewarding feeling for any athlete. These fans have spent their time, money and energy into rooting for you  so why not give those fans what they came to see.. a win! I know from personal experience I always loved playing a game at home. Being able to walk from your own locker room onto your field as people are chanting your name and team makes you want to perform better and guarantee a victory not only for yourself but for them. Now as a fan of the Penn State Nittany Lions there is nothing better than screaming until your voice gives out after defeating a team at Beaver Stadium. So far this season we have greatly benefited playing at home as we have an 4-0 home record opposed to an 0-2 road record. So does this means home field advantage works?

Home field advantage in sports gives the hosting team leverage over the team that travels there to compete. Statistics can prove this theory correct because teams who compete at home tend to win 60 percent more of the contests. According to Tobias J. Moskowitz and L.Jon Wertheim  In soccer home teams win at an outrageous 69.1 percentage, NBA teams win at home around 62 percent and home teams in the NFL win at a 58 percent rate. These numbers provide huge data that reveal the importance of playing a sporting event at home. According to John Bois  in all sports home field advantage plays a big role in the outcome of the game. After his research he discovered that playing at home will give teams in the NBA and NFL the biggest advantages. His findings show that if the Utah Jazz played all their games at home they would have won over 22 percent of the games they ended up loosing. He takes into consideration the distance in plane travels and fan base. After he focuses his attention to the NFL where he sees that from 2008 to 2010 the San Fransisco 49ers could have won up to 18 percent of the games they lost if they played on their own turf with their own laud crowd cheering in their favor..

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There are a great deal of factors which display the advantages a home team has during the sporting event. The most influential factor is the crowed. Every player wants the crowed to be energetic as they chant the team and players names. This motivates the players to play better and play with more confidence. In an article posted by the North American Journal of Psychology, it is evident that cheers have a positive effect on competitors where as jeers or “boo’s” have a negative effect on performance. It shows that pitchers in baseball are effected greatly when they are getting booed. The crowed plays a huge part of the game because they count as an extra or “12th” man because they have the power to get into the opponents head. Fans play physiological warfare with other teams players and when it works it freaks the players out. It causes players to act irrational as they may commit stupid penalties, unnecessary fouls, greater risks and sometimes not even hear the play because it is so laud inside the stadium. The  art of distraction is one of the most powerful actions a fan base can display. The more cheers the home team has the more they want so they will do whatever it takes to win and please their home crowed.There is nothing worse than being embaresed at home and losing by an opposing team. Player testosterone actually increases as cheers are lauder and this causes them to play better and harder.                       Image 4


Another factor is the venue the game is played at. The fact that the home team doesn’t have to travel helps out big time. For example going into different time zones throw the body and their sleep schedule off. Also the environment plays a role because some teams are used to play in the hot, cold, wind , or rain while others aren’t. For example playing football in Denver is more difficult because the stadium is over 5,000 feet above sea levels so altitude is higher making it hard to breath and can lead to mile high sickness. This may be why the Broncos have the best home record in the past 32 years. Similarly ,the GreenBay Packers are used to playing and practicing in the cold so when temperatures drop to below freezing it is no shock to them. But compared to the Miami Dolphins who practice in the heat all year round, they wouldn’t be mentally and physically ready to compete in that type of weather.

Playing at home gives the hosting team an advantage as they have the crowed on their side, they are more aware of their environment, and more comfortable when they play on their own field. It is obvious talent does play a bigger role in the outcome of the game, but the more evenly match the two teams are, the home team will have all the factors helping lead to a victory because of home field advantage.






9 thoughts on “Home Field Advantage In Sports

  1. Thomas Tatem Moore

    I wrote a very similar post this blog period as well. I thought the timing was ideal with the big game versus Ohio State this weekend. I found many interesting statistics and facts as well. Some of the prior comments caught my eye with the relation of time zone differences, and hotel conditions being a factor, and that is something I forgot about in my article that would have been great. Here is an article I used that shows the difference in major statistics in college football when comparing home and away. This is certainly food for thought for Saturday night.

  2. Michael David Kresovich

    I think this was phenomenally timed blog post especially with the whiteout game this weekend. I think home field advantages in sports are very crucial, you do not have to travel,you can sleep in your own bed and of course you have your home fans behind you. In sports home field advantage is everything, especially in football, the NFL too. I can always remember the playoff games that the Seattle Seahawks would host, they always kept the advantage.http://www.nfl.com/videos/nfl-videos/09000d5d8242058d/Football-Freakonomics-Home-field-advantage

  3. Wesley Scott Alexander

    Derek, I loved this post. I could really relate to it after playing countless sports over the years, most importantly football and lacrosse all four years of high school. The “home field advantage” effect is definitely significant from the perspective of an athlete. Not only do you have fans cheering your name and providing energy, but you forego all the taxing requirements of playing an away game. Everything from travel time, different locker rooms, to something as simple as the change in your game-day routine can tax energy and make you feel uneasy before a game. I know that before football games I always had a very specific routine that would be disrupted when I would play away games. This always made me feel a little uneasy and looking back on it now I can see how interesting the psychological effects of the “home field advantage” are for the home team both before, during preparation and in the game itself.

  4. Maura Katherine Maguire

    Interesting post! I was captivated right away due to my prior involvement in soccer, lacrosse and basketball. Even when I am not playing a sport I am a huge fan of attending NFL games or watching sports games on T.V. There is definitely something about playing on your home turf that ignites a motivation to win. Whenever I played a home game I felt as if we had more fans and more power. Nothing beats the feeling of upsetting your opponent on your home field. When it comes to referees there is some controversy with home field advantage but I for one think this is not the case. Reading this blog post really made me happy and brought me back to my days on the field. Great post, really well written.

  5. Grace Ellen Leibow

    As a former soccer and basketball player, as well as a student at a school with one of the biggest sports cultures in America, this post definitely caught my eye right away. The atmosphere that comes with being on your home turf, where you’ve sweated and worked at practices and warmed up in and surrounded by fans right at home is something you just can’t beat. I definitely understand how the science backs it up as well. I actually found an article that debates whether or not the home field advantage is overrated in sports. He seemed to find that, when it comes to playoff-clinching games, teams actually have the advantage when they play away, as the upset is an even bigger deal. This article can be found here: https://www.psychologytoday.com/blog/perceptual-asymmetries/201504/is-the-home-advantage-overrated-in-sports Although this is an interesting take, I still have been convinced by you that, overall, the home team definitely has the advantage when it comes to sports games.

  6. Brendan Mironov


    What an awesome blog post. Being around sports my whole life, I was well aware that home field (or court/ice) advantage indeed provided an advantage but had no idea how staggering the numbers are. My father played professional hockey for 20 years and I remember when I was younger I asked him the questions about home ice advantage and if it really mattered if he played home or away. Just like your study, he mentioned that traveling plays a major role. Since in the NHL there are 82 games in a season compared to 16 in the NFL, games are much more frequent in hockey. It is not uncommon to have multiple back-to-back games (2 games in two nights) in a month. Additionally, NHL games tend to be in the evenings compared to the afternoon games of football. This means that after a team finished a game, conducted post game press conferences, and by the time the team packed up the equipment, it would be extremely late. In back to back games, there would be around a 20 hour window to get on the plane, fly to the next city, and actually play a game. The traveling and time zone difference can have a huge impact on player performance. In addition, my dad told me it was awesome playing at home because of the support of the crowd, but also because you get to sleep in your own bedroom. Awesome blog! Thanks for sharing.

  7. tmv5147

    Great post, caught my eye right away. I strongly believe in home field advantages in sports, espically in college sports. As you mentioned Penn State has had create success at home over the years, it’s hard to come and in a beat a team with 107,000 fans. Let’s hope that helps this weekend. The other sport that strongly benefits from home field advantage is the NBA, some call it the best home field(court) advantage. Most of us have all stayed in hotels, but when you’re 6’8-7’0 tall, how comfortable do you think those players are at night when they’re sleeping in those beds. I do think that chance is factored into home field advantage also, look at the Chicago Bears and Dallas Cowboys, they have had absoultely horrendous home field records over the past couple years. The NFL is strictly all about coaching, the players on the teams are obviously a large part of the teams success but its up to the coaches to dictate how the team performs. A great example of this is Demarco Murray playing for the Eagles last year after coming off of a recording setting year with the Dallas Cowboys. Demarco fit the Cowboys scheme and when he came to Philadelphia he was not productive at all. Cold weather and high altitudes are great third variables of home field advantage, when the Miami Dolphins have to go play the Green Bay Packers late in December, they are going to have a rough time adjusting to the conditions on hand.

  8. Pengji Wei

    Hello Derek. Great post. I am big NBA fun. And every time when I watched the game, the home team has more chance to win it. Before I read your blog, I always thought that if the team play at their home court, the referees might be help the team a little bit with their fouls and free throws. And there are also lots of people have thanked the same thing, but this doubt is still in controversial. Here is a website for this. http://www.nbaminer.com/do-nba-referees-favor-home-teams/
    But after i read your blog, I just realized that the funs can play a major role to the game. Like you said in the blog, the chanting can let the athlete feel more important, so it makes them want to win the game. And like you said, different locations can make the result difference of the game. Such as play did not sleep well in the hotel, or does not used to the altitude of one city. So that is how important the home court is to a team.

  9. Michael David Harding

    Interesting post. As a huge sports fan of this university and the 3 major sports teams of Philadelphia i have seen some incredible games with some incredible fans. I’ve seen our Nittany Lions pull off upsets that we should not have in front of the screaming 110,00 fans. I always wanted to know what exactly gave the advantage, and i say it differs. Teams that travel across time zones probably have the biggest disadvantage especially those who travel into time zones with more than an hour’s difference. Playing at noon in the east equates to 9 a.m. start in the west and that can take a toll on a team. But in some cases it can just be the atmosphere I have attended some Nittany Lion football games which the fans alone rattled the other team into making mistakes that sometimes the teams were much better than making. Let us hope for a little home field magic this saturday night as we host The Buckeyes in the famed White out game

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