Does home advantage still matter with no fans in stadiums?

A major advantage is having your own fans cheering you on, but how does having empty stands impact on-pitch results?

8:00am on Wednesday 16th September 2020
Martin Macdonald

When elite leagues around Europe returned after lockdown, having no supporters in attendance was a much-debated issue in terms of the relative impact on home and away results.

Having fans cheering you on for 90 minutes versus the empty shells that games are currently being competed in has been viewed as a potential leveller.

But has it played out like this? CIES Observatory have produced some figures.


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Home Advantage Post-Lockdown

The answer is that home advantage is definitely not defunct, but not quite as effective as it was.

CIES looked at how home teams performed at their own stadium in the years preceding lockdown compared to the matches played behind closed doors.

Looking at 63 leagues worldwide, they discovered that between January 2015 and March 2020, 44.3% of fixtures were won by the home side.

When looking at the prospect of an empty stadium, one hypothesis could have been that this figure would become lower and that did happen, but only just, as after lockdown 42.2% of matches were won by the home side. This figure did, however, fluctuate among the respective leagues.

The leagues with the biggest drop in home wins were the Greek Super League, the Austrian Bundesliga, and then the German Bundesliga. These competitions witnessed pretty significant % swings in favour of the away sides during that period, though the size of the sample must be taken into account.

Top 10 leagues with biggest % drop of home wins

Super League 1 (Greece)-15.1%
Austrian Bundesliga (Austria)-15%
German Bundesliga (Germany)-14.1%
V.League 1(Vietnam)-11.6%
K League 2 (S.Korea)-10.7%
Serie B (Brazil)-9.3%
Allsvenskan (Sweden)-9.1%
Chinese Super League (China)-9%
Russian Premier League (Russia)-8.9%
1.SNL (Slovenia)-8.9%

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