Popular Science

If you want to win, there’s no place like home

- by MOLLY GLICK

ATHLETES TEND TO DO BETTER on their own turf. But the factors that create the mythical homefield advantage are still somewhat mysterious. Referee bias, lack of travel-related fatigue, and the morale boost of fan attendance may contribute, yet experts still debate the particular­s. In fact, the effect even varies by sport. This is what we do know about the phenomenon—and why it might not hold the same power it once did.

 ??  ?? Spirited jeers erupting from stands could impact subjective referee decisions, like whether a baseball is in the strike zone or a linebacker interfered with a pass. One clue that fans create a bias: Some locals’ win rates tend to drop as crowds thin.
Spirited jeers erupting from stands could impact subjective referee decisions, like whether a baseball is in the strike zone or a linebacker interfered with a pass. One clue that fans create a bias: Some locals’ win rates tend to drop as crowds thin.

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