THE PERSISTENCE OF THE HOME TEAM ADVANTAGE. I have long thought that television and instant replays would have improved refereeing because fans and sportswriters and league officials are able to review the calls. In fact, I have wondered how extreme the home field advantage must have been when the home team’s fans constituted most of the spectators. Apparently things were not much different from today. I posted here on reviews of SCORECASTING, which I have since bought. One finding of SCORECASTING is that the percentage of games won by the home teams in each of the major sporst has stayed fairly constant over time. (The figures are on page 112). Thus, major league baseball teams playing at home won 54.1% of their games from 1903-2009 and 53.9% over the last ten years of that period. Even with the advantage of batting last, the home field advantage is smallest in baseball. For NBA basketball, home teams won 62.7% of the time from 1946-2009 and 60.5% of the time over the last ten years. There are similar results for other sports. Only one development seems to have made a difference. A QuesTec camera system was installed in up to 11 major league ball parks for a period and was used by baseball officials to monitor umpire calling of balls and strikes. During this period, at QuesTec parks, the advantage that the home team had on ball and strike counts was changed and the advantage on balls and strikes swung to the visiting team.

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