FansWe see teams trying to maximize the game-day experience of the fan all the time, from the driveway to the parking lot and back again. A happy fan is an engaged fan, and an engaged fan is… loud. We hoot and holler for our team, at the opposing team and towards the referees. But how much does this translate into a hometown win, and what does it mean to a franchise?

An entertaining article written by Stephen J. Dubner and the Freakonomics crew tackles that first question. The article is called “How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?” The takeaway is simple: statistics show that the referees are a variable that affects the outcome of the game, and refs are affected by the energy of the crowd. The referees in football games are especially vulnerable to crowd noise. However, the effect seems to be involuntary. The reason the crowd affects the referees is apparently the social pressure put on them by an engaged crowd. Dubner’s article reports that “when the crowd sits closer to the field, the officials are more susceptible to getting caught up in the home-crowd emotion,” which reaffirms the idea that the refs are simply overcome by the energy of the crowd.

What does this mean for a sports franchise?

When a sports franchise attempts to maximizing the game-day experience, the end goal is to motivate the fan to attend more and more games. The benefits of the game-day experience boost then compound for the sports franchise. If a fan attends more games because he or she is having a good time, the team will reap the benefits of that fan being truly engaged. That fan engagement translates into more wins, and more wins translates into better attendance in future games! We’re left with a virtuous circle that makes a sports franchise take on a life of its own, and have no problem selling out its games.

Source:  Dubner, Stephen J. ““Football Freakonomics”: How Advantageous Is Home-Field Advantage? And Why?.” Freakonomics. Freakonomics: The Hidden Side of Everything, 18 Dec 2011. Web. 15 Nov. 2013.