Is crowd noise positive or negative?

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Matthew Scott, Staff Writer

   Have you ever had the feeling that you are deaf and cannot hear a single thing someone is saying? Like when going to a rock concert on a Friday night or driving by construction on the way home from work.  That same feeling you get can double in one night, and where is that you ask? Well, that would be an athletic event at a college field or arena.

   Have you ever been in Cameron Indoor Stadium where duke plays its home games or Death Valley at Clemson on a Saturday night? Places like those are so loud you cannot even hear yourself think. That is what home field advantage means to college sports, and it is everywhere you go. The players and Coach love it, and the fans get into it, so what about other people?

   Home field advantage is one of the biggest difference in who wins and who loses an important game. According to Critical Ink by Nicky Axmann, “Home court or home field advantage is a commonly held belief that is well supported by statistical evidence” (

   Take basketball for example. They build these arenas so small and compact that all the sound is in one area, and it creates the loudest building you will ever be in. Chesapeake energy arena where the Oklahoma City Thunder plays, is a perfect example of this. It is so small that a big game during playoffs makes it even harder to hear. It affects the game more than you think because a team gets on a run and the crowd gets loud; it can pump up the team and make them play better. Duke has 903 wins at home, compared to 188 losses, so that is a prime example of how this theory works.

   With all that noise, how do you expect a referee to make a correct call on the field, especially when you have fans booing so loud they cannot hear? An article in the Journal of the Royal Statistical Society says, “Descriptive statistics from our samples clearly show that home teams receive fewer yellow and red cards than away teams” ( That is the effect of crowd noise. At many soccer games, the subject of the article, crowd noise makes hearing impossible.

   So what goes through a referee or umpire’s mind when a quick play happens that is important to the game? This call will make or break a team, and the referee is in a hostile area. They cannot hear themselves think, so they rush and make the call, which has been significantly influenced by the noise of the crowd.

   “A large part of the regular season in many popular American sports involves playing for home field advantage in the playoffs” said Axmann. With fans screaming and yelling, the odds of losing decreases. So, get those fans going and win some games.