Are Premiership games different under floodlights?

It occurred to me that teams may play differently under floodlights. Maybe shoot more on the off chance that the ‘keepers visibility wasn’t as good as in natural light?

Now my data doesn’t have kick off times so I’ve split it two ways. Firstly I’ve split the sample into midweek and weekend games, on the assumption that midweek games are played under floodlights whereas weekend ones are not. This is shown in the table below, where ST = shots on target, and TS = total shots, and Sh% = shooting percentage:

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.07.19 AM

However there’s also a lot of weekend games played under the lights around the equinox, so below I’ve switched up the samples such that the midweek sample also incorporates games played on a weekend in November, December, and January:

Screen Shot 2013-02-18 at 9.07.27 AM

So what can we surmise? Well the two tables mirror each other pretty well; weekend games have more goals as a result of proportionately more shots, however over a 38 matches the difference is about 1 goal, 9 shots on target, and 12 total shots between the two sides. There’s a tiny effect here, and in the opposite direction to that I’d expected, but it’s barely distinguishable from the noise.


One thought on “Are Premiership games different under floodlights?

  1. I wouldn’t expect there to be any influence due to lighting … if so teams like Schalke 04, Vitesse Arnhem and Ajax etc. would have a great advantage/disadvantage … seeing as they play in stadiums that have a closed roof! (although the roofs can be opened) …
    oh, doesn’t the Millennium Stadium in Cardiff have a retractable roof too? … I assume that with the roof closed there would be no natural light.
    I would think that artificial lighting would actually be beneficial, gives a more even light source over the whole pitch … especially now, when on some stadiums the lights run along the roofs of the stands and not only on towers in each corner of the ground.

    I think what causes most hindrance for goalies would be to have to look directly into a light source (hence the wearing of caps by some goalies) or when the day is so bright the stands cast thick dark shadows over on side of the pitch … I remember watching games on TV in the 80s/90s and finding the shadow contrast really irritating, must have been more so for the players crossing into/out of and running into and out of those zones.

    Anyway, still interesting to see that it doesn’t matter. 🙂


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