To sports fans, there's nothing in the world as exciting as playoff action. The only thing better than watching your team host the seventh game of a seven-game series on television is being present for it. 

There certainly seems to be palpable energy that overwhelms arenas and stadiums in favor of the home team, but is it measurable? Can it be relied upon to give the home team a boost enough to get them the win? 

How much of a difference does home court advantage mean in sports?

What Is Home Court Advantage?

A team that enjoys home-court advantage is simply hosting the match. However, this belies some of the advantages that home teams enjoy by playing in their home buildings. For instance, the visiting team must endure the logistics of travel. 

It doesn't matter if it's one high school team visiting another across the league or a professional west coast team flying across the country and then checking into an Embassy Suites Charleston SC, travel is more taxing physically and mentally than remaining at home, where your normal routines exist.

The most salient aspect of home-court advantage that seems like it could play a factor is the home fans' presence. They can affect the atmosphere by the way they dress, display signage, chant, and, of course, create sheer volume. 

While it may have a psychological effect on opponents when they are booed or the home team is cheered, loud crowd noise certainly can disrupt communication. 

This is why you'll see quarterbacks waving their arms up and down for quiet, which usually works and also points toward a unity of region-wide synergy working toward a common goal.  

Is Home Court Advantage Measurable?

In a way, on the professional level, the home-court advantage directly affects opponents. Players that travel across the country on road trips are prone to suffering travel-related sleep issues. 

There is a study that posits that players suffering from jetlag, for instance, are more prone to losing focus and making mistakes. A disrupted internal clock can lead to a disrupted circadian rhythm and shallower, poorer quality sleep. 

Weather and geographic elements can affect the outcome of an outdoor match. 

Notably, the NFL's Denver Broncos have often conceded a quantitative home-field advantage because their field is at such a high altitude that it makes breathing more difficult and stamina is affected. 

Cold weather regions like Buffalo or Green Bay that host football games in deep winter invite teams that sometimes play in much warmer climates, or in domes, into the harshest winter elements. 

This can affect the feel of the ball or the turf, which can interrupt the timing between the quarterback and his skill players. 

Can Home Court Advantage Guarantee Victory?

The short, precise answer is no. While it can have any number of peripheral influences, it cannot and does not, consistently lead to victory. 

The mystery of sports is that sometimes the worst team in the league beats the best. On any given day, either team can win. 

How much of a difference does home-court advantage mean in sports? Who's to say whether there is a legitimate edge to playing at home. Both teams can make physical or mental errors for all sorts of reasons. 

The pressure to win must be equally as intense on each team. Perhaps it goes back to the old adage that success is a preparation meeting opportunity. 

Maybe there is a disparity of talent between the teams or maybe one team or other is on a winning streak. 

One thing is for certain: the outcome of every game will remain a mystery until it is played. 


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