The home advantage over the first 20 seasons of the English Premier League: effects of shirt colour, team ability and time trends
This study explored the relationship between teams' home shirt colour and the magnitude of the home advantage in English professional soccer. Secondary aims were to explore the consistency of the home advantage over time and the relationship between the home advantage and team ability. Archival data from 7720 matches contested over the first 20 seasons of the English Premier League were analysed. The data show that teams wearing red are more successful than teams wearing other colours, and that teams are more successful in home games than in away games (home advantage index = 0.608). The home advantage has also remained consistent over time (1992/1993-2011/2012) and is greater in low-ability teams (teams with lower league positions) than in high-ability teams. After controlling for team ability, it was found that teams opting for red shirts in their home games did not show a greater home advantage than teams opting for other colour shirts. Two possibilities for this finding are offered: (1) shirt colour is not a contributing factor to team success, or (2) changes in psychological functioning associated with viewing or wearing red stay with team members after the shirt colour has been changed. It is recommended that researchers continue to explore the effect of shirt colour on athlete and team behaviour and further explore how team ability can affect the magnitude of the home-field advantage.