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Christian Unkelbach and Daniel Memmert

The home advantage is one of the best established phenomena in sports (Courneya & Carron, 1992), and crowd noise has been suggested as one of its determinants (Nevill & Holder, 1999). However, the psychological processes that mediate crowd noise influence and its contribution to the home advantage are still unclear. We propose that crowd noise correlates with the criteria referees have to judge. As crowd noise is a valid cue, referee decisions are strongly influenced by crowd noise. Yet, when audiences are not impartial, a home advantage arises. Using soccer as an exemplar, we show the relevance of this influence in predicting outcomes of real games via a database analysis. Then we experimentally demonstrate the influence of crowd noise on referees’ yellow cards decisions in soccer. Finally, we discuss why the focus on referee decisions is useful, and how more experimental research could benefit investigations of the home advantage.

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Eldon E. Snyder and Dean A. Purdy

This study substantiates the notion of a home advantage for the sport of basketball. The findings indicate that home teams win 66% of their games and this advantage is as important for game outcomes as team quality. However, the advantage varies according to the quality of home and visiting teams. The paper provides a review of the Durkheimian perspective, which views the home team as a representative of the home collectivity that draws support from its fans. Additionally, the home advantage may be seen as an expression of Goffman, whereby the players are highly motivated to respond in a manner that will maintain their proper demeanor and self-esteem.

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Russell E. Ward

Durkheim’s discussion on ritual and Goffman’s theoretical work on first impressions are used to predict superior performance among home teams on opening day. Information on opening day game outcomes is compiled and compared with the results of regular season and championship play. The analysis reveals a greater home advantage for teams playing in opening day games than for home teams competing in regular season or championship games. When controlling for the effect of stadium attendance on the home advantage, the opening day home advantage exceeds that of championship competition. The results suggest that ritual activity and concerns for first impression management may be factors that condition home team performance, offering support for the assertion that performance is partly a social product. Further home advantage research can direct attention to cross-cultural differences in the opening day home advantage and focus on qualitative data collection to supplement the current abundance of archival data.

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Kerry S. Courneya and Albert V. Carron

A home advantage in sport competitions has been well documented. The strength and consistency of the home advantage has made it a popular phenomenon in sport today. Very little systematic research has been carried out, however, and the home advantage remains one of the least understood phenomena in sport. It appears that much of the game location research has been arbitrary, and a clear sense of direction is lacking. The purpose of the present paper is to provide a conceptual framework to organize a comprehensive review of previous game location research and provide direction for future research. The review of literature indicated that the descriptive phase of inquiry has been completed, and it is time to address the underlying mechanisms responsible for the manifestation of the home advantage. Possible methodologies and areas of inquiry are highlighted and discussed.

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D. Randall Smith, Anthony Ciacciarelli, Jennifer Serzan and Danielle Lambert

That the home team wins more than half its games is well-established. One factor said to produce this home advantage is travel between venues, which is seen as disruptive for the visiting team. Unfortunately, the media and athletes have been more supportive of travel effects than the research literature. While players continue to speculate that travel matters, empirical results find little support for travel factors. In the present paper we demonstrate that, at least for some professional sports, team travel can exert a very small influence on the outcome of the contest even after the quality of the teams competing is controlled. We conclude, however, that the belief that some factors confer an advantage to the home team is more the product of social forces than the influence those factors regularly have on game outcomes.

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Kerry S. Courneya and Albert V. Carron

The present study investigated the effects of season game number, series game number, length of home stand, length of visitor's road trip, home travel, and visitor travel on the home advantage in minor league Double A baseball (N= 1812 games). Initial analysis indicated that the home team won 55.1% of the games (p<.001). Forced-entry multiple regression analyses determined that the combined main and interaction effects of the predictor variables explained less than 1.2% of the variance in win/loss outcome (p>.49). Chi-square analyses revealed that the variable of length of visitor's road trip produced the greatest change in the magnitude of home advantage. When the length of visitor's road trip was cross-tabulated with the length of home stand, me change in home advantage was statistically significant for the home team's later series (p<.05). The implications of these results for the various home advantage explanations are discussed, and future directions for home advantage research are offered.

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E J. McGuire, Kerry S. Courneya, W. Neil Widmeyer and Albert V. Carron

Little research has been conducted on the role of various behaviors in contributing to the home advantage in sport competitions. The present study investigated whether player aggression mediated the relationship between game location and performance in professional ice hockey. Based on the subject-defined delineation between aggressive and nonaggressive ice hockey penalties established by Widmeyer and Birch, 13 measures were used on data collected from the official game reports and penalty records of the National Hockey League for the 1987–1988 season. Both macroanalytic and microanalytic research strategies and analyses were employed. Initial analysis revealed that home teams won 58.3% of the decided games. Further analyses showed a significant interaction between game location and performance. Home teams incurred more aggressive penalties in games they won whereas visiting teams incurred more aggressive penalties in games they lost. Implications for the potential role of aggression in contributing to the home advantage are discussed.

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Timothy Baghurst and Inza Fort

The purpose of this study was to investigate the home advantage in female collegiate Division I gymnastics by apparatus and determine the performance effect of the Judges’ Assignor System (JAS) introduced in 2005 on each apparatus. Participant teams (N = 15) were selected based on their ranking in the top 25 nationally at the end of each regular season from 2003 to 2007. A repeated measures analysis of variance (ANOVA) revealed home scores for each apparatus were significantly higher than their respective away scores, with the largest differences occurring in the uneven bars and floor exercise. Additionally, a repeated measures ANOVA to assess the JAS impact on scores revealed that home performances yielded higher scores than away for all apparatus, and scores for all apparatus were lower both at home and away since the introduction of JAS. Results are assessed based on current research, and application for judges and coaches is discussed.

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Kerry S. Courneya and Albert V. Carron

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Timothy Baghurst, Inza Fort and René Cook

The current study investigated the performance effects of competing at home or away venues in female collegiate Division I gymnastics. Teams (N = 15) selected for analyses were ranked in the top 25 nationally at the end of each regular season during the period of 2003 to 2007 with the exclusion of 2005. Each team’s total scores at all regular season home meets over the four years were compiled and compared to their respective away meet total scores. A repeated measures analysis of variance revealed home scores to be significantly higher than away scores. Additionally, with the introduction of the Judges’ Assignor System (JAS) in 2005, team scores at home and away were compared before and after its introduction. Team scores were significantly higher at home prior to and following the introduction of JAS. However, performance scores were found to be significantly reduced at both home and away with JAS. The results of this study suggest that teams perform significantly better at home than away. In addition, the findings suggest that JAS has significantly reduced gymnastics scores, yet has not significantly altered the effects of competing away from home. Findings are discussed in light of current research and application for coaches and officials is provided.