Home fans make a difference in Germany


The German Bundesliga completed its regular soccer season this weekend. The last nine match weeks were played in almost entirely empty stadiums. Fans weren’t permitted entry. (If you heard crowd noise on television, it was solely for the telecast. The noise wasn’t heard by the players.)

How did home teams fare without their fans? Poorly. The home team won 26 matches; the away team won 38 matches; and there were 18 draws (three of them goalless).

How did home teams fare during the nine weeks before the lockdown when games were played in front of the famously loud German fans? Much better. The home team won 35 of these matches; the away team won 29; and there were 18 draws (five of them goalless).

The advantage crowds confer on the home team seems to be real (and unsurprising), at least in German soccer. Pretty soon, we’ll be able to look at data from other countries and other sports.



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