Now that the Superbowl is over and baseball season will arrive soon, a new study finds that switching to a new stadium can have a dramatically bad effect on a team’s performance, because it reduces players’ testosterone levels. “It’ll probably cost you a couple of points in a season, and in some sports, that’s the difference between winning and second place,” says statistician Richard Pollard.
He studied results of professional baseball, basketball and ice hockey games in the U.S. between 1987 and 2000 and found that teams that moved to new stadiums lost about 24% of their home advantage.
The problem could be caused by lower testosterone levels. Researcher Sandy Wolfson found that the testosterone in professional soccer players increases by up to 67% during home games compared to away games. That’s a “home game advantage” we never suspected!
This makes sense when you think about a team like the New York Yankees, who’ve been complaining about their old stadium for years, while remaining one of the winningest teams in baseball.
Maybe winning teams play a special kind of defense?
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