Global home advantage in soccer


Home advantage is defined as the increased probability to win at home rather than in away games  (see e.g. the seminal work by Courneya & Carron, 1992) and can be seen as one of the most prominent effects in sport psychology (Allen & Jones, 2014; Carron et al, 2005; Strauss & MacMahon, 2014). This study investigates the global home advantage in soccer and its change over time. The data was collected from several open source online-databases. We analysed data from the highest (premier) league in 194 of 208 FIFA countries with available data starting in 1888 and up to the season 2011/2012, in total N = 684,162 games. We controlled several confounding variables (e.g., leagues taking place in one stadium) and analysed home advantage on three major levels (confederation, league, and team). The study includes several variables taken from previous literature that have been discussed as potential moderators for home advantage in soccer (e.g., socio- and economical country variables, e.g. temperature, e.g. league-specific homogeneity). Overall, the worldwide home advantage has decreased since the 1980s but still accumulates to a home winning percentage of 61.9% (of all decided games, without tied games) in the new millennium. With respect to the three major levels we find home advantage variance to be mainly originated on the league level. On this level, the actual global home advantage follows a normal distribution – with an immense variation between the different leagues (from 50 % up to 90%. General country variables yield no contribution for the understanding of home advantage, whereas several league characteristics (e.g. league homogeneity, this is the variation of team strengths in the concerned league) account for about 30% of the variance in home advantage magnitude.