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Do Empty Stadiums Affect Outcomes? The Data Says Yes

  • July 01, 2020

According to data provided by another analysis firm, Gracenote, home teams scored fewer goals than they had in full stadiums (1.74 to 1.43 per game), leading to a decline in goal scoring over all.

They also took fewer shots (a decrease of 10 percent), and those that they did take were worse. (The probability of any given shot ending up as a goal dropped more than a point, to 11.11 percent.) Home teams, the research found, also attempted fewer crosses, won fewer corners and tried fewer dribbles.

By almost every attacking metric, Bundesliga teams were worse while playing in an empty home stadium. Most curiously, goalkeepers performed better away from home than they did on their own turf: The percentage of shots saved dropped noticeably for goalkeepers on familiar territory, but increased for those on visiting teams.

“It’s a particularly odd finding,” said Simon Gleave, Gracenote’s head of sports analysis, “because it’s the same goalkeepers, playing home and away.”

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