npower prove fan energy helps power player performance

It’s a commonly held belief that sports teams playing at home have an advantage over visiting teams – ‘home advantage’ a well-known phrase in sporting circles.

But how is home advantage actually measured? Does it really exist or is it just a myth?

Wasps Energy partner npower has decided to dig a little deeper, analysing how big a role ‘fan energy’ plays in creating this perceived home advantage and how much it powers player-performance.

The Super Powers Experiment 

npower and Wasps have conducted a fun-fuelled experiment to ascertain when it is that fan energy and player energy combine to produce the most powerful force for the club.

To determine this “high-energy point,” npower has recruited 50 Wasps fans to investigate the link between fan energy and player performance.

Each fan is monitoring their heart rate at three Wasps’ home games using a personal fitness tracker.

At the same games, (against London Irish, Worcester Warriors and Northampton Saints) npower is measuring crowd noise to provide a unique insight into the link between fan support and their team’s performance.  

npower is also monitoring Social Media chatter to include supporters who are unable to attend the game.


Match 1 Results - Wasps v London Irish, 4 March

Watch the video below to see the results unfold in live action

Heart rate 

  • Each individual’s heart rate was collected every second to obtain detailed data.
  • All fans’ data was combined to provide an average heartbeat for the group. This is called the collective ‘Fan heartbeat.’
  • After the match, data was mapped against match action to correlate heart rate fluctuations.

Stadium Noise

  • Two commercial sound level monitors (Larson Davis Model 831) were positioned at ground level in two parts of the stadium.
  • Sound in the stadium was measured throughout the match, with data points taken at 10 second intervals.

Social Media Chatter

  • Using the hashtags and handles #wasps #WASvLIR #COYW @Wasps @LiRC the number of tweets during the 80 mins were recorded and the most popular moment of the match, as voted for by fans, was noted.
Data Analysis

The “npower high energy point of the match” revealed

The data revealed the “npower high energy point” of the match between Wasps v London Irish was Tom Cruse’s winning try for the home side, three minutes before the final whistle. This try immediately followed London Irish’s missed conversion attempt which might have snatched the win away from the hosts.

As you can see from the below graphs, accelerated heart rate and crowd noise levels were at their maximum during this climatic end to the match. 

Collective fan heart rate – 91.87 (Highest heart rate 132)

Crowd noise levels - 121.8  dBA

The charge down kick leading to Tom Cruse’s try was the most talked about play and was also voted for by Wasps fans as the ‘Pure Gold moment of the match’ (74 retweets)

Collective surge of energy

Additionally, analysis reveals a late trend from Wasps fans to power their team during London Irish’s fightback.

There is a gradual crescendo in heart rates with 15 minutes of the match left to play, when London Irish scored a try and had a conversion attempt to take the lead.

Data reflects Wasps’ fans anxiety levels rising as they became nervous their side might lose a match they had been winning for 75 minutes.

As heart rates rise noise levels follow a similar pattern, increasing as fans express this nervous energy and determination to get behind their team to drive them on to victory.

Analysis of data indicates a collective surge of energy transferring from fans to players, both united in their efforts to win the game.

This surge culminates in a successful charge down of London Irish’s attempted clearance by Tom Cruse, who gathered and scored the try that sealed the game for Wasps.

The “npower high energy point” was the culmination of collective player and fan energy to produce the match-winning moment for Wasps. This also reflects how the crowd can act as one giant energy source. It therefore follows that the larger the number of vocal fans the greater the level of home advantage.

Other Headline Data

  • Heart rates increase at half time alongside activity when people go for refreshment stops.
  • The quietest periods of the game occur where an injured player is being tended to.
  • Wasps’ supporter chant “Allez, Allez, Allez, Wasps, Wasps, Wasps” helps to increase noise levels and heart rates in the stands, which in turn galvanises players on the pitch.

The Mission continues

Our Wasps Super Powers team will continue their mission this Saturday against Worcester Warriors, when npower will again be measuring heart rate, noise levels and social media chatter.

In the next couple of weeks, Professor Greg Whyte OBE PhD DSc FBASES FACSM, the preeminent authority on Exercise Physiology and Sports and Exercise Performance in the UK, will also be reporting back with his expert data analysis and interpretations of the first two matches.