FACT: Philadelphia is the Worst Sports City in North America

Doug Pensinger

Ed. Note: This belongs here on the front page. And it's all your fault, you bad, bad fan.

It’s not because of Santa Claus, D batteries, or Tie Domi. It’s not because all of the other travesties that take place among other cities’ fan base aren't equally as disgraceful. No, it’s quite simple and calculated actually. Philadelphia has given their sports teams the worst advantage to win a game when playing in front of a home crowd. Over the last 10 years from the four major sports in North America (NFL, MLB, NBA, NHL), it is clear that each team in Philadelphia performs worse at home than anyone else in their respective league.

To find out how well a team uses their home field advantage, you compare a team’s overall winning percentage over the last 10 years to their home winning percentage in that same time span. For instance, the Philadelphia Phillies have a .543 Win Percentage- good enough for 5th in MLB – in the last 10 years. Their home record during that same time is a .558 Win Percentage, which is only good for 13th. That slim .015 amount of improvement they see at home is slimmer than every other team in baseball over that same time period, with the average MLB team being .041 better at home.

OK, big deal, the baseball team is a few percentage points off the average, that doesn't prove anything, right? Maybe not, until you look at the other sports. Using the same formula and time span the Eagles, Sixers, and Flyers all rank dead last in home field advantage. The Eagles are the worst home team in North America themselves, as they are the only team who actually owns a better overall road record than home, in any sport. Each of these four teams has been in first, second, and last place in certain years. Some years they have sellout crowds, some years they play in front of empty stadiums. One thing, the only thing, these teams all share in common over the last 10 years is that they play their home games in Philadelphia. When comparing to other cities, there is no correlation from sport to sport. There isn't one other city who can claim their teams are all in the top 5, bottom 5, or all middle of the pack. Here are the numbers from the last 10 years:

Team Total W% Home W% HomeAdv% LgAvg Lg Rank
Eagles 55.63% 55.00% -0.62% 6.95% Last
Phillies 54.32% 55.76% 1.45% 4.09% Last
Flyers 50.14% 52.27% 2.13% 5.07% Last
Sixers 43.91% 51.00% 7.09% 9.87% Last

This is the Philadelphia Home Field Advantage, the worst home field advantage any team can get. And its no one's fault except for ourselves. Thanks a lot everyone.

UPDATE: Combining Sports Markets

In effort to make sense of this statistical phenomena, I assigned a geographical market to every team. Some are simple, others are less straight forward (i.e. Memphis Grizzlies added in with the Tennessee Titans). The below list captures any market with at least 3 different teams to avoid outliers driving results, sorted by worst home field advantage:

City Teams Vs Lg Avg
PHI 4 -3.98%
NY 7 -1.69%
MIA 4 -1.28%
DAL 4 -1.08%
CAR 3 -0.83%
OAK 3 -0.67%
BOS 4 -0.66%
DET 4 -0.62%
WAS 4 -0.42%
TEN 3 -0.42%
CHI 5 -0.40%
STL 3 -0.25%
TOR 3 -0.18%
HOU 3 0.05%
LA 6 0.11%
CIN 3 0.59%
MIL 3 0.65%
SF 3 0.83%
ATL 4 0.92%
PIT 3 0.96%
CLE 3 1.04%
ARI 4 1.07%
DEN 4 1.48%
TAM 3 1.67%
MIN 4 2.04%

With New York coming in 2nd, I want to think its sort of reverse NorthEast coast bias effect, but Miami, Dallas, Carolina, and Oakland seem to make it less convincing. What stands out even more here is that Philadelphia at basically 4% is way out of line with every other market.