The Behaviour of Home Advantage during the COVID-19 Pandemic in European Rink Hockey Leagues
The primary purpose of the present study was to compare the home advantage (HA) and the home team performance in the most relevant European rink hockey leagues (Spanish, Portuguese and Italian), considering the presence or absence of spectators in the competition venues due to the effect of COVID-19 restrictions. The sample was composed of 1665 rink hockey matches (654 from the Spanish league, 497 from the Portuguese league, and 514 from the Italian league) played between the 2018–2019 and 2020–2021 seasons. The HA and match variables comparisons were established using several negative binomial regression models. Results showed that the effect of HA did not disappear despite playing without spectators but decreased from 63.99% to 57.41% (p = 0.002). Moreover, the comparison of the match variables showed that playing with spectators benefited local teams’ performance, especially in the Portuguese and Italian leagues. Playing with spectators favoured local team performance in rink hockey matches, which is more evident in some analysed leagues. However, as HA does not disappear entirely without spectators, it is necessary to study other relevant performance factors that are not directly or indirectly attributable to crowd behaviour in rink hockey performance analyses.
Journal or Serie
International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health, 2022, vol. 19, núm. 1, 228