Revising Home Advantage in Sport – Home Advantage Mediation (HAM) Model

Merim Bilalic*, Bartosz Gulab, Nemanja Vacic

*Corresponding author for this work

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The Home Advantage (HA) phenomenon, where teams perform better in front of their fans, has garnered increased interest during the COVID-19 pandemic, which provided a unique opportunity to study HA without crowd presence. Despite the presence of useful conceptual frameworks, most previous research has focused on investigating isolated individual factors. Here we review our newly developed Home Advantage Mediated (HAM) model, which considers all major factors and their interrelations simultaneously. HAM assumes that the crowd effects are mediated through other relevant factors, such as referee bias and team performance. Most importantly, HAM can be formally expressed as a mediation model, a technique widely employed in social sciences for investigating causal pathways. We demonstrate how researchers can use HAM to model the HA in European football and how moderating variables, such as COVID-19 and the absence of fans, can be incorporated into the model to disentangle the processes behind the HA phenomenon. This model not only sheds new light on this well-established sports phenomenon but also guides the practical application of mediation and moderated mediation models in a Bayesian framework. This approach can be extended to other sports science areas, demonstrating the versatility and utility of our model.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1-27
Number of pages27
JournalInternational Review of Sport and Exercise Psychology
Early online date4 Jun 2024
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 4 Jun 2024

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