Home Advantage Doesn’t Require Crowds, COVID Pro Soccer Matches Show

Home Advantage Doesn’t Require Crowds, COVID Pro Soccer Matches Show

Before COVID-19 halted public life as we know it, professional soccer matches drew in enormous crowds. The benefit that fans bring is not the only explanation for the boon that accrues to home teams. The researchers examined matches played by 10 professional soccer leagues across six countries: Spain, England, Italy, Germany, Portugal and Turkey. They compared the outcomes of more than 36,000 games played under normal circumstances—from the 2010–2011 season to the start of the pandemic in the 2019–2020 season—with those from 1,006 games played without onlookers in 2020. The analysis, published today in PLOS ONE, reveals a small but statistically insignificant drop in the home advantage.

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