By Brad Hubbard @bradhubbard
As we’ve covered before, travel can take it’s toll on a people. From airports to traffic to weather to timezone changes. It’s rough. Playing at home has it’s disadvantages too.
Some teams have a tremendous home field (or ice) advantage. The University of Miami football team once won 58 straight home games between 1985-1994. Cameron Indoor Arena on the campus of Duke University is an amazing atmosphere, Fenway Park in Boston is historic, JELD-WEN Field in Portland is unreal, the Bell Centre in Montreal can just make your jaw drop. But what happens when a road team comes to these great atmospheres? They’re excited too!
It’s one thing for a road team to get up to play a game in Columbus, OH at Crew Stadium and another to get ready to play in front of the Timbers Army in Portland. Grant Wahl did a player survey before the start of the 2013 MLS season. Which were places had the best atmospheres in MLS? Seattle and Portland of course. Who had the worse? Dallas with Columbus coming in 3rd. With these atmospheres you can get a better than expected performance out of people because they are so energized by the atmosphere.
Playing at home also brings in the distractions. You’re home and people know where to find you vs being locked in and focused on the road where the bills and family are not out of sight and usually out of mind. Talk to fighters in the UFC. Usually when they fight in their hometown people come out of the woodwork looking for tickets and deals on hotel rooms. The road can allow people to focus in more on the game.
Home games overall are better than road games but make no mistake, they can have their drawbacks.
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