Why not move to a neutral site?
Two of the best words in sports are “Game 7.” The excitement in those two words gets adrenaline pumping. They signify the playoffs in one of three sports: Major League Baseball, National Hockey League and the National Basketball Association. It’s time we determine the best team in their respective league, without allowing home court or field advantage to sway the outcome.
For example, there have been 129 Game 7’s in NBA history. The home team has come away victorious in 103 of those games. According to a study, the home team in an NBA regular season game wins 59.9% of the time. In the playoffs, that number jumps to 64.5%. While there’s still a significant chance of 35.5% chance the away team comes out on top, a neutral site would definitely make the Game 7’s — especially in basketball — more intriguing.
Since 1912, there have been 36 World Series Game 7. The home teams in those Game 7’s are 19-17. A relatively even split may discourage any thought to move a Game 7 to a neutral site, but it could definitely make a difference in the outcome.
In the Stanley Cup finals, the championship race has reached Game 7 15 times since 1942. The home team is 12-3 in those Game 7’s. In 2019, the St. Louis Blues and Boston Bruins will play the seventh game of their series at TD Garden in Boston on Wednesday evening.
Logistically speaking, it may not be feasible to move fans to a neutral site for a Game 7 in any sport. However, if the leagues as a whole want to determine the best team in their sport during any given year, they should move this pivotal game to a neutral site.
Regardless of where you hold it, people will come. Sport teams have enough passionate fans who will travel any distance for their teams. The NFL has no problems selling out the Super Bowl on a yearly basis, while the NBA and MLB all-star games are typically sell-outs as well. Sports in general needs a shake-up to keep things interesting — why not move to a neutral site?