It is the same in all professional sports leagues.
I think it is safe to say that in all sports, be it the NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL, or even college sports (NCAA), home and away teams are determined by a set schedule formula.
In the NFL’s case, each team has 16 games with 8 of them being played at home in your stadium and 8 of them being away games. This can change depending on whether you make the playoffs or not. If you do make the playoffs they will add however many games are needed to determine who makes it to the Super Bowl which consists of 4 teams.
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The home team is always listed first on the schedule and gets to wear their home colors.
The home team gets to wear their colors and is listed first on the schedule. In other words, they get to wear whatever they’re comfortable wearing in their own stadium. The away team has to change colors and wear a jersey that contrasts with the home team.
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The home team gets to choose their side of the field. However, they have to choose a side before the coin toss so that both teams know what direction they’re headed in during pregame warmups (and this decision can’t be changed after halftime).
The home team gets to choose their bench location (located on one sideline or both sidelines) and sideline location (near midfield or near an end zone). These decisions are made during pregame warmups, but again can’t be changed after halftime.
Finally, the home team gets to choose whether or not they want upright goal posts at each end of the field; visiting teams don’t get this choice.
The visiting team has a much less favorable deal.
However, the visiting team has a much less favorable deal. Their ticket sales go toward the home team’s salary cap, and they earn no revenue from concessions or merchandise sales.
They are also forced to pay for their own travel, accommodations, and meals while on the road.
It can cost up to $250,000 to visit an away game depending on how far your team must travel.
For this reason, many believe that the NFL gives a competitive advantage to teams with weaker homefields so that away teams will not be overburdened by expensive trips to more popular cities.
According to cupola.gettysburg.edu_ In our sample of 4,141games (N=4141) from the 2015 (NFL, NBA, MLB) and 2016 (NFL) seasons, we found that the home team won 55.5% of their home games.
This is one of the primary criticisms of Goodell’s new scheduling format: it may give too much power to higher-ranked teams at the expense of lower-ranked ones.
As simple as it sounds, there are not enough fields in the world to host every NFL game at each team’s stadium.
To understand why let’s look at a few more numbers:
- 32 teams and 16 regular season games per team means that there would need to be 512 football stadiums hosting games.
- There is less than half that number of stadiums in all of Europe and North America combined.
- Even if you assume one game every two weeks (which is still underselling it), you’d have to play 64 games per week, which is twice as many games as the NCAA plays on an average Saturday during college football season
(Most weeks of NFL action feature fewer than 20 total games.)
It’s hard to have a meaningful rivalry without playing at least one another per season.
Rivalries are kind of a big deal in the NFL, and it’s hard to have a meaningful rivalry if you don’t play at least one game against each other every year. As a result, most teams play their biggest rivals at least twice annually.
To determine who plays at home, the league takes into account which team is listed first on the schedule, then they mirror the schedule from there. So if Team A plays Team B in Week 1 in Team A’s stadium, they’ll play them again in Week 17 in Team B’s stadium.
Additionally, there are some strategic elements that make being the home team more desirable than the visiting team.
For starters, home teams get to wear their own jerseys and have their fans on their side (which should be an obvious advantage); but beyond that, there are also time zone advantages for traveling teams.
They often arrive earlier than normal to avoid any unfavorable effects of having to travel long distances from one day to another (like differences in sleep schedules).
It doesn’t sound like much of an edge when you’re talking about professional athletes who should be used to dealing with these kinds of things, but as you can see by this article about how coaches deal with time zone differences for away games
Home-field advantage can be significant.
With the home team playing in familiar surroundings and their fans cheering them on, there are a number of things that give home teams an advantage over away squads.
With more experience on the field, players get better rest, supporters are more supportive and hostile towards opponents, and familiarity with the playing surface is advantageous. These factors add up to create a home-field advantage that can be significant.
Though studies tend to be inconclusive regarding the importance of fan support (more than one study has been unable to find any tangible correlation between it and team results), player performance has been shown to improve both physically and mentally when they’re competing at home.
Being able to sleep in their own beds and avoid the stress of travel is crucial for athletes who play such an intense sport as American football. But these factors only account for part of what makes playing at home so beneficial.
A 2009 study by economists found that the probability of a victory is significantly higher in games played at home.
In other words, it’s not just about how well you play, it’s also about your opponent’s ability to play well when you’re putting them under stress by providing a loud atmosphere for them to compete in.
The NFL relies on the fact that they will get most of the money anyway.
The NFL also has a lot of money to throw around, and they do so in a big way. Every year the league makes about $10 billion in revenue. But how is that money distributed?
Well, it depends on the system in place at the time and whether it was agreed upon by all parties involved. In general, however, the home team gets 60% of that money while the visiting team gets 40%. The rest of the revenue goes to the NFL.
But there is another wrinkle added to this scenario: When a visiting team plays a game against a division rival or an interconference opponent a division opponent from another division or conference.
The home team will have to give up some of its own cut of revenue and send it to their visitors.
Is this process worth it?
The answer is yes, for a few reasons. First, it’s important to be fair and objective. When the NFL had only 12 teams, playing every team twice in a season was a feasible scheduling method that made sure each team played one another under somewhat equal conditions.
With 32 teams in the league now and with home-field advantage being so crucial.
it’s important to find ways to determine who gets to play at home as often as possible. It would not be fair if some teams got home-field advantage more often than others just because of their size or location, which is why the current formula is set up to be relatively balanced.
Second, it’s important to keep the geographical balance intact between the conferences and divisions. Keeping rivalries going by scheduling close-by opponents makes for higher attendance and tighter games (that have less of an effect on travel time).
Does it actually help?
The best way to tell if home-field advantage really matters is to look at the postseason. In the playoffs, there’s no question that having a home game is a significant boost. The team with the better record gets an additional home game in each round of the playoffs, ensuring that they’ll be able to play on their home field as long as they keep winning.
In fact, we can use this fact to see how much of an advantage it is to play on your own field: in every Super Bowl since 1990 (28 games), the team with more wins during the regular season has won 24 of those games. That’s 86%.
To put that in perspective, teams with 14 wins or more (out of 16 games) have only won 82% of their total games over the same time period.
Clearly playing at home gives you a benefit, but we still don’t know whether that benefit comes from being somewhere familiar or from not having to travel across time zones.
Is it good for viewers?
According to the NFL, home-field advantage provides a boost for both players and fans. The renowned atmosphere of one team’s stadium can be intimidating for a visiting opponent, and the energy from the hometown crowd can give a boost to their own side. This can result in better play from the home team and an increased chance of victory.
If a team is playing at home, it usually brings about more fans coming out to watch them play, giving them an extra boost. Home field advantage also gives some financial benefit to teams by providing additional gate receipts and other revenue sources associated with playing within their own city where they have more fans than any other city within their division.