South African Journal of Sports Medicine

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Home advantage in the Commonwealth Games

GM Ramchandani, DJ Wilson


Objectives. Research examining the phenomenon of home advantage in international multi-sport competitions is limited to the Olympic Games. This paper investigates the prevalence of home advantage in the Commonwealth Games. The paper also explores the relative impact of travel on performance in the Commonwealth Games. Methods. Home and away performances for all previous host nations were examined using the standardised measure of market share, regarded by recent European studies as the most robust indicator of a nation’s sporting performance. For each host nation, the host effect was calculated as the difference between their average home and away performances. Furthermore, the market share values for each host nation were analysed relative to the distance travelled by them (in terms of the number of time zones crossed) in every edition. This exercise was extended to all nations that have sent a team to the Commonwealth Games in the post-war era. Results. The research found that, with the exception of England, all previous host nations experienced a positive host effect in the Commonwealth Games. Furthermore, for the majority of nations it was found that performance is negatively correlated with distance travelled. In other words, as distance travelled increases, performance deteriorates. Conclusion. The findings suggest that future host nations of the event can expect to achieve an elevated level of performance when competing on home soil. This may in part be attributable to their athletes not having travel outside their own time zone. Direction for future research is offered.
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