Disconnects between popular discourse and home advantage research: What can fans and media tell us about the home advantage phenomenon?

  • Smith D
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Many of the factors identified as influencing the home advantage have an underlying social basis, presumably through the influence exerted by the home crowd. Beliefs in the home advantage and the causes of that advantage also have a social basis: sports coverage and fan discourse focus on some aspects of the phenomenon at the expense of others. This paper compares home advantage research with the use of the concept in media narratives and fan Intemet postings. While there are many similarities across sources, the findings suggest three major differences. Fans, and to a lesser extent the media, (1) focus almost exclusively on winning as the evidence for a home advantage, (2) see crowd noise as the main factor for the home advantage, and (3) treat the phenomenon as much more transient than is suggested by academic studies. I identify several features of the phenomenon that facilitate popular views of the home advantage and suggest how future research may benefit from incorporating those views.

Author-supplied keywords

  • College basketball
  • Fans' perceptions
  • Home advantage

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  • D. Randall Smith

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