Baseball Home Field Advantage Without Fans in The Stands

Jeremy Losak, Joseph Sabel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The home field advantage is universally accepted across most major sports and levels of competition. However, the exact causes of home field advantage have been difficult to disentangle. The COVID-19 pandemic offers a unique natural experiment to isolate elements related to home field advantage since all 2020 regular season Major League Baseball games were played without fans in the stands. Results provide no statistically significant evidence of a difference in home field advantage between the 2019 and 2020 seasons, supporting the conclusion that home fan crowd support does not drive home field advantage. There does appear to be a statistical advantage by the home team batting second in the inning. Travel fatigue seems to have no impact on home field advantage, and while home field advantage seems to increase throughout the 2020 season, we chalk that up to small sample noise. Despite the lack of historical precedence, betting markets seem to efficiently respond to the change in home field conditions in 2020 by not overreacting.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Number of pages42
JournalInternational Journal of Sport Finance
StateSubmitted - Apr 11 2021

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