Does DMU have a home advantage? The Stats
De Montfort University prides itself on being heavy involved in the university sporting world, with millions invested into different sites around the city, including £1 million spent on the watershed and £2 million on Beaumont Town FC to name just two. An incredible investment in sporting facilities around Leicester, but does that improve the quality? DMU have had an incredible season so far and with Varsity now upon us, a lot of them will be reflecting in pride but also looking forward to their Varsity.
Thinking about the results, has the millions of pounds in investment been worth it? I went through every BUCS fixture, cup and league, to find out how our teams performed and whether they have benefitted, as per the stats. Sports which were exclusively tournament based were not included as they may not ever play at DMU, therefore not giving a comparison. The data was taken before the final Wednesday of BUCS Leagues, 15th March, and therefore reflect all but the last week.
DMU In Numbers
DMU played a total of 344 games before the final week, with 169 being played at DMU and 175 being played away from home. DMU have won a staggering 166 of those games, making a 48.26% win percentage across all games, whilst their loss record is 156 games, meaning DMU have lost their matches 45.35% of the time! Whilst at first it seems ridiculously high; Premier League Champions Leicester City have a 41.36% loss record in the Premier League throughout their 411 games played so far. Not being much higher than the Premier League Champions in losses, but significantly higher on wins as they have only won 30.41% of games in the Premier League. Admittedly this is over a much longer time, but DMU involves every sport in BUCS Leagues!
But where do they falter and where do they thrive? Having played roughly the same amount at home as away, 169 at home and 175 away, there is an equal DMU have excelled in their home games, winning 95, drawing 11 and losing 63. The biggest contributors to the wins were both Men’s and Women’s Rugby Union 1st teams, who both contributed 6 home wins this season, followed by Basketball Men’s 1st team and Football Men’s 3rd team, who scored 5 wins. Their winning percentage at home was an impressive 56.21% win rate. DMU won nearly 100 games at home this season and had several teams go unbeaten at home, the true definition of making your home a fortress. The DMU Hockey women went unbeaten in the season, even beating Coventry’s 2nd team 9-0 in their unbeaten league season. The only defeat they had in the season was in the final of the Midlands Conference Plate, where they lost 3-0 to the University of Birmingham 5th team.
On the flip side, DMU’s away results were not as incredible, though still impressive as DMU won 71 out of 175, or 40.57%. The Netball 1st team was the highest contributor away with 7 wins and only 1 defeat in their season on the road. However, with 93 losses away, there is a significant jump in defeats as DMU lost 53.14% of their fixtures away.
Why Is There A Disparity?
The Vice Chancellor of De Montfort University takes pride in the sporting diversity of the university, therefore a huge investment in sport is no surprise. With crowds varying from single digits to the dozens, DMU has no consistent advantage in terms of crowd, whilst things such as training standards have improved dramatically over the past few years. Strength and Conditioning training has improved match fitness across the board and the differences can be seen this year more than ever before. But that affects both home and away fixtures, so what specifically is so imperative about home advantage?
The facilities DMU have are of an incredible quality, Beaumont having a 3g pitch and a high-quality playing field and the QE2 and Leicester Arena being of the highest standard. Even the hockey pitch at Saint Margaret’s Pastures has had a massive overhaul, replacing playing surfaces which were sub-par and replacing them with some of the best in the city. These pitches, courts and playing fields may be of incredible quality and having to go to an away game with lower quality surfaces may impact our ability to play. That may be one explanation and the other is rather obvious, but still impactful.
We know many games have become less about the physical aspects and more about the mentality of the sport. Being stuck in a bus for up to 3 hours sometimes can be quite demoralising and energy draining. Being sat down for an extended length of time and having time to think about the fixture can drag your mind out of focus or throw doubt into the mind. In comparison to that, being able to do whatever you want to prepare and then show up without having to go through a long journey.
Looking For Results
With most of DMU’s best results being at home, with only a third of teams recording their best results away, there is a significant advantage. 4 DMU teams had their best results against UoL, giving them a huge confidence boost going into their Varsity games. They have performed better than ever before, with many teams going on cup runs into the later stages of the tournaments and even as much as winning it, in the case of DMU Rugby Men’s 1st team! DMU’s record points total of 368, beating out last years 274, has seen them finish 71st in the overall table whilst UoL have finished 37th with 906 points. DMU in one year have jumped 14 places and nearly 100 points! Something nearly inconceivable for a university around half way up the table.
DMU should be feeling confident, look at the improvement! With most of the fixtures closer to DMU than the University of Leicester, they will be feeling that home advantage confidence, and should be in high spirits for what seems to be the biggest Varsity to date.