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How much is homefield advantage worth in the playoffs?

Sep 21, 2010, 4:48 PM EDT

With the Yankees, Rays, and Twins in a three-way battle for homefield advantage throughout the AL playoffs Cliff Corcoran of SI.com took a look at how much of an impact being the home team has had and found … well, it’s probably not as important as you’d think.
Going back to 1998, when the current schedules were instituted, teams with homefield advantage are 45-39 in playoff series.
Now, certainly a .536 winning percentage is better than, say, a .464 winning percentage, but it’s also important to note that the homefield advantage team is typically the stronger team by virtue of having the better record in the first place.
So, basically the stronger (if only slightly, in many cases) team with the benefit of homefield advantage has beaten the weaker team 53.6 percent of the time. I’d be hard-pressed to call that significant. Corcoran crunches the numbers even further and finds some other interesting things, but my basic takeaway from the article was “homefield advantage is probably overrated.”

  1. Samira - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:25 PM

    Overrated from a performance perspective, sure, but likely not from a club revenue perspective.

  2. ThatGuy - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:42 PM

    Or from a fan perspective. Got my tickets to Game 1 of the ALDS at Target Field. Couldn’t be more excited.

  3. bigshotrob - Sep 21, 2010 at 5:53 PM

    I think the results for game 5′s of the division series and games 6 and 7 of the LCS would be more interesting and relevant.
    I’m sure I could look this up myself, but isn’t that why we pay so much to use this site.

  4. BleedGreen - Sep 21, 2010 at 6:13 PM

    Its not like home field advantage in football. You still get to play games at home, and the you don’t need to hear nearly as well in a baseball game as you do in a football game. I’m sure it pumps up the home team but that’s more psychological than it is a tangible advantage.

  5. bgrant - Sep 21, 2010 at 6:38 PM

    Yeah, homefield advantage is probably overrated. I mean, it’s not as if a team could have a .667 record at home and a .547 record on the road. That is just redonkulous!

  6. bgrant - Sep 21, 2010 at 6:52 PM

    Home field advantage *does* exist, but it’s just not very significant. So what about the Twins current home-road splits? Do they play in different parks in the playoffs? I guess this is about what our definition of ‘significant’ is.

  7. Samira - Sep 21, 2010 at 7:38 PM

    Awesome. I’ve got a coworker who bought extra tix this year–I’ve already told him I’m interested in a set, but not sure when yet.

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