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In sports, home is the place and venue identified with a team sport. Most professional teams are named for, and marketed to, particular metropolitan areas; amateur teams may be drawn from a particular region, or from institutions such as schools or universities. When they play in that venue, they are said to be the "home team"; when the team plays elsewhere, they are the away, visiting, or road team. Home teams wear home colors.
Each team has a location where it practices during the season and where it hosts games. This is referred to as the home court, home field, home stadium, home arena, or home ice. When a team is serving as host of a contest, it is designated as the "home team". The event is described as a "home game" for that team and the venue that the game is being played is described as the "home field." In most sports, there is a home field advantage whereby the home team wins more frequently because it has a greater familiarity with the nuances of the venue and because it has more fans cheering for it, which supposedly gives the players adrenaline and an advantage. The opposing team is said to be the visiting team, the away team, or the road team.
In baseball, sometimes, when teams are playing a makeup game from an earlier game postponed by rain, the game may have to be made up in the other team's stadium. An example of this occurred on September 26, 2007, with a game between the Cleveland Indians, who were the "home" team, but the game was played vs. the Seattle Mariners in Safeco Field, with their fans, etc. Other instances of the home team playing in the visitor's stadium include the New Orleans Saints hosting the New York Giants at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey a few weeks after Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans in 2005; and the Toronto Blue Jays playing a 2010 home series with the Philadelphia Phillies in the Phillies' Citizens Bank Park while the G-20 Summit was being held near the Rogers Centre in Toronto. Because it was an interleague series, the designated hitter rule was instituted in a National League ballpark for the first time in the regular season.
A spectator can often tell which team is home by looking at the field of play. Often a home team logo, insignia or name is in the middle of the field at center ice, midfield, or center court. Also, the logo, insignia or name may be found atop a dugout in baseball or in the end zone in American football.
Rules and conventions often apply to the choice of home and away colors. In Australian football, the home team traditionally wears black shorts. In American football and hockey, the home team tends to wear uniforms that feature their team colors, whereas the visiting team will wear white or a lighter color. On the other hand, in baseball and basketball, the home team will typically choose to wear the lighter colored version of its uniform. In fact, many teams have a home uniform which is mostly white and referred to as the "home whites". The road team will generally wear a version of its uniform with one of the darker of its official colors as the main color, or in baseball with a grey main color referred to as the "road greys". The term "home whites" originated in the early days of Major League Baseball. Typically the visiting team had no access to laundry facilities and thus the players were unable to clean their uniforms on the road. By wearing grey or another dark color the visiting team was better able to conceal the dirt and grass stains that had accumulated on their uniforms over the course of the series. The home team, having access to laundry facilities, was able to wear clean white uniforms each day, hence the term "home whites".
In any context where a game score or the pair of teams meeting in a game are mentioned, the team mentioned first (left or top) is the home team, except in the United States and Canada, and to a lesser extent, Japan, where home teams are mentioned second.
Typically, the home team has responsibilities such as supplying the venue and equipment, hosting its opponent, media and the officials (referees, umpires, etc.), and may have the opportunity to sell tickets, food and media rights.
- Daniel J. Bruton, Sports Marketing, p. 112
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- "Rivas sparks Tribe; Carmona shuts down Mariners". ESPN Internet Ventures. September 26, 2007. Retrieved September 29, 2007.