Home crowd advantage: Will the Brazilians have an edge at IEM Rio?

Home advantage is an intangible we take for granted. But is its effect as strong as you might think?

Unlike traditional sports, there are no home and away fixtures in Counter-Strike. Our open calendar is spread across the globe, making it luck of the drawer whether the crowd will be on any given team's side. At the IEM Rio Major, that honour will go to the Brazilians in FURIA, Imperial, 00NATION, and Lucas "⁠nqz⁠" Soares of 9z.

And, there are reasons to believe it will be more of an edge than usual: There will be fans at every single match in the Major, from the Challengers Stage all the way to the Grand Final in the Jeunesse Arena. Chances are, those fans will be cheering on their countrymen, which begs the question: How much of an advantage comes from playing on home soil?

Will Imperial get a home crowd buff?

There are a number of challenges to trying to quantify something as intangible as the impact of an event's location. Attendance at esports events is not publicly recorded, making it hard to identify the difference between a full LANXESS Arena and a studio audience at ELEAGUE over a large dataset. You also do not need to play on home soil to have a de facto 'home crowd'; Cloud9's win at IEM Dallas is not a traditional case of home advantage, but they were cheered at every stage regardless.

To evaluate the performance of a team in front of a home crowd, we first need a benchmark — where a team would place in a vacuum, with no home advantage. The benchmark we have chosen here is to compare a team's final placement against their placement by the HLTV ranking at the start of the event, meaning we are only considering events since it was implemented at the back end of 2015.

So, if the #6 team in the world ranking was the 4th highest ranked team at the event and finished 2nd, they would be over-performing by 2 places. Then, to account for how many teams at the event, we convert their placement (3rd out of 8 teams, 13th out of 16, etc.) to the equivalent placement in a 16 team tournament. Our 'home crowd advantage' is then the difference between a team's expected placement (using the world ranking) and their actual tournament placement. Over a large sample size of more than five years of action, this starts us off in demystifying the weight of home crowd advantage.

In this swarm plot, we are plotting every home team's performance — defined as a team with a core of players from the same nation as where the event was held — at a reasonably sized LAN since 2015. We can see that home teams perform, on average, slightly better in their country of origin. The average, a difference of 0.08 percentile ranks, comes to about 1.26 places higher in a 16-team tournament than if we just ordered the attending teams by their world ranking.

If we take this as gospel — and there are many reasons we should not do so — and add two or three places to our home teams at Rio, a 24-team event, FURIA are looking at a jump from 8th seed to the line between playoffs and top four. Imperial will sneak into the top 16, while 00NATION might still struggle to follow them there.

But, the average figure of home advantage resulting in a jump of 2 or 3 places is just that: an average. IEM Rio amplifies all the reasons home advantage exists, with a crowd in all three stages. Few teams, even on home soil, experience the adulation Imperial will receive in Rio.

The only true home run since the pandemic has been Astralis at BLAST Fall Finals 2021, placing five spots higher than their world ranking in 3rd place at their first event with Benjamin "⁠blameF⁠" Bremer and Kristian "⁠k0nfig⁠" Wienecke. Like Imperial can expect in Rio, there was no doubt that the vast majority of the crowd was favouring Astralis there. There is also the fact that this is Brazil's first Major; a fanbase known for their passion are expected to blow the roof off the Riocentro and Jeunesse Arena.

In the two events that have been held in Brazil in the past, however, the home crowd have not seen their favourites crowned. At ESL One Belo Horizonte, SK were in decline and finished 3rd-4th, exactly where the world ranking predicted. At ESL Pro League Season 4 Finals in Sao Paolo, SK were off the back of their back-to-back Major success and the second-highest ranked team at the event and finished just there, losing to Jake "⁠Stewie2K⁠" Yip's Cloud9 in the final.

Denmark, too, performs lower than an eye test would imply in terms of offering home advantage, their teams finishing 2.5 ranks lower at home than their world ranking suggests. One reason could be that, with all of the crowd's devotion to Astralis, North and Heroic were left behind, to play on home soil with no home advantage. To solve that, let's do the same analysis but with notable organisations (those that have had more than 2 events at home and SK) rather than nations.

This is a good time to address a flaw of using HLTV world ranking for this. Namely, that higher-ranked teams do not have the opportunity to reflect their home advantage; Astralis was #1 for the majority of their home events in Odense, so anything below a win would be treated as, in our analysis so far, a failure. Yet, in reality, the home crowd might have pushed a number one team like Astralis over the finishing line in a tight series.

On the other hand, a team like BIG, who usually occupy the bottom half of the top twenty, there is an opportunity at every IEM Cologne to have their home advantage recognised. In Rio, that fact could play into Imperial's hands. In the past, where anything less than a championship victory was a failure, the crowd might have actually added pressure to the SK side. Now, expectations are lower, Imperial are more experienced, and crucially — their opponents have not had the chance to gain that experience.

When a more inexperienced team, like OG or GamerLegion, face a Brazilian team they will experience an atmosphere incomparable to anything they have played before. This, surely, will only exacerbate the home advantage that is already present.

And yet, this is all speculation. When we divide our decent sample size into specific teams and countries, we are reducing the accuracy of any conclusions that smaller dataset might lead us to. Since 2016, we can see that, on average, home advantage is a real thing — but only for one or two places in a 16-team event, which is fairly insignificant. In reality, teams still, normally, place where they should.

Most of the narrative around home advantage is a case of rosy retrospection, where our brains remember the outliers, the magical home runs of Cloud9 in Boston, fnatic at Malmö or BIG at Cologne.

But we are wont to forget that there are nearly as many disappointments on home soil as there are successes, events where the home team does not even get to see the crowd and bombs out in groups. Take OpTic's collapse at Atlanta in 2017, where the then-ranked 2nd-best team in the world bombed out in groups.

Even with disappointments, our brains often fool us. We remember extremes, both the highs and the lows. The vast, vast, majority of the time, a team finishes an event about where they should. It is far more likely that, even with a home crowd, Imperial finish the Major about where their world ranking and previous form dictates. The same is true of a young 00NATION, and a FURIA side that has seemingly reached a ceiling of a playoff team rather than a championship one.

Yet, it is easy to want to tear down what history tells us usually happens. FURIA's situation is not unlike Cloud9's before Boston, a home team that may not have looked like champions beforehand but could gather momentum at the right time and in the right place.

Imperial, meanwhile, have shocked us before.
Intangibles that are only mild for other teams seem to explode for them; teams like Cloud9 in Antwerp and Complexity at the RMR were in better form, and by most metrics, were better teams than Imperial when they faced them in elimination matches. But, somehow, Imperial prevailed.

There is a unique pressure on the teams that face the wily Imperial, even without a crowd — that nagging feeling that it was inevitable they would make it to Rio. Counter-Strike is a mental game as much as it is technical, after all. What has happened in the past, with home teams only gaining a small advantage on average, will be little reassurance to inexperienced teams facing Imperial in such a high-pressure environment.

The old SK squad could not turn home advantage into a trophy in their two attempts on Brazilian soil

But, the thing with cold, hard, statistics is that they are not prone to narratives like this. A team may crumble against Imperial in the face of a hostile crowd, but can they force that response in three separate series? Imperial lost to Copenhagen Flames in Antwerp, a match that was far easier than Cloud9 on paper. It is not like Complexity were heavy favourites in their decider at the RMR. Only a few teams, in all of CS:GO, have ridden their home advantage to success, stringing together upset after upset.

The truth is that home advantage acts differently in different environments. For some teams, it's an added pressure they could do without. For most, it doesn't seem to make too much of a difference. But for a lucky few, it provides the motivation that they could not find otherwise. Cloud9's Boston success, despite being #5 in the world beforehand which excludes them from some of the tables in this article, will always be the shining example of that.

Gabriel "⁠FalleN⁠" Toledo, Fernando "⁠fer⁠" Alvarenga, Marcelo "⁠coldzera⁠" David, and to a lesser extent Epitacio "⁠TACO⁠" de Melo, are in the twilight of their careers, perfect examples of players that could wield a home tournament to find similar levels of motivation to their prime for a one-off tournament. They have made it to Rio, a home Major they have waited for ever since its postponement in 2020.

It is the scene of one of their last dances, with FalleN planning his retirement for the end of 2023. Every ounce of their energy will go into making this home Major a success. Home advantage, in history, has not been a magic wand. But, we have not had an event like IEM Rio before. Magic may exist after all.

Brazil Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Marcelo 'coldzera' David
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
1445
KPR:
0.77
DPR:
0.62
Brazil Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Epitacio 'TACO' de Melo
Age:
27
Team:
Rating 1.0:
0.92
Maps played:
1437
KPR:
0.61
DPR:
0.65
United States Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Jake 'Stewie2K' Yip
Age:
24
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.01
Maps played:
1525
KPR:
0.70
DPR:
0.69
Brazil Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Gabriel 'FalleN' Toledo
Age:
31
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.07
Maps played:
1610
KPR:
0.69
DPR:
0.60
Brazil Lucas 'nqz' Soares
Lucas 'nqz' Soares
Age:
17
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.13
Maps played:
220
KPR:
0.74
DPR:
0.59
Brazil Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Fernando 'fer' Alvarenga
Age:
30
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1463
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.68
Denmark Kristian 'k0nfig' Wienecke
Kristian 'k0nfig' Wienecke
Age:
25
Team:
No team
Rating 1.0:
1.08
Maps played:
1593
KPR:
0.75
DPR:
0.69
Denmark Benjamin 'blameF' Bremer
Benjamin 'blameF' Bremer
Age:
25
Team:
Rating 1.0:
1.15
Maps played:
928
KPR:
0.76
DPR:
0.61
Ofc its normal
2022-10-29 21:50
4 replies
no brazilian teams historically play shitty in front of their home crowds
2022-10-29 23:20
3 replies
even if they don't play "shitty" i still only see furia as the only br team to move on
2022-10-30 00:07
1 reply
#65
nitr0 | 
United States JDMX5
I say Furia and Imperial move on from Challengers. However, only Furia makes it to playoffs. That's just my take tho
2022-10-30 01:34
the legendary 7 x 1, was, indeed, in front of a very big brazilian crowd
2022-10-30 02:39
nope
2022-10-29 21:50
7 replies
#20
togs | 
Brazil hfdjk
2022-10-29 22:13
6 replies
#37
 | 
Hungary szia
some trashy fans
2022-10-29 23:00
UFC is a bit prone to hooligans though
2022-10-29 23:26
Lel fellas should try that shit without hiding in a crowd & during the walkin. XDD
2022-10-30 00:32
fc.k u, this was after Matt Brown gave the middle finger to the Brazilian crowd.
2022-10-30 03:21
2 replies
#92
 | 
Germany LANDWHALE
And that's a reason to punch a man from behind? You seem weak
2022-10-30 10:45
You're pathetic
2022-10-30 14:02
They will have the edge of not being far from home once eliminated.
2022-10-29 21:52
1 reply
Cold
2022-10-29 23:16
not with fallen, the biggest choker on home soil in the history of csgo
2022-10-29 21:53
4 replies
kkkkkkkkkkk Fallen: number of events played on home soil: 2 placements: 3rd-4th and 2nd conclusion: biggest choker on home soil in the history of cs go
2022-10-29 22:35
3 replies
#39
 | 
Canada MiLkBaGzz
you kinda proved his point there... for the record I dont think fallen is a choker but finished 3-4th & 2nd is choking.
2022-10-29 23:03
1 reply
#43
 | 
Brazil MrLucas
I believe that was his point
2022-10-29 23:19
if you think that losing Pro League vs Cloud9 and ESL One Belo Horizonte to mousesports with a complete, and that complete being a super washed up n0thing, isn't choking then I highly recommend you getting your brain scanned
2022-10-30 00:52
#5
GIGA | 
Sweden murii
Always impressed by hltv pulling out such stats.
2022-10-29 21:53
1 reply
+1
2022-10-30 01:21
N OMEGALUL
2022-10-29 21:53
00NATION top 11+ ez
2022-10-29 21:54
underdogs on home soil = advantage favorites on home soil = disadvantage
2022-10-29 21:56
5 replies
+1
2022-10-29 22:13
#62
 | 
Argentina Aleeee
well, clearly both imperial and 00nations are underdogs so it might help them
2022-10-30 01:09
#73
 | 
Denmark Rubix__
+1 oonayion will win major
2022-10-30 04:52
Yes
2022-10-30 10:30
#94
 | 
Italy MulaManca
+1
2022-10-30 11:00
No
2022-10-29 21:59
I sometimes wonder about this, cool article!
2022-10-29 21:59
1 reply
Same! :)
2022-10-30 10:35
bro has the free-est job in the world just posting bullcrap articles lmaooo hltv paying for this? xd
2022-10-29 22:02
7 replies
#79
GIGA | 
Sweden murii
Just because you have 80 iq and don't understand it. The article is really good.
2022-10-30 07:20
1 reply
yeah fk yeah we gonna bring ar15 in crowd if a team is beating a br team woohooo. the last time a local team won a major was in 2018 which was lemme check 5 years ago? its a fkin video game, the only thing that matters is ur own fkin skills.
2022-10-30 09:42
The article was excellent
2022-10-30 18:30
4 replies
nice 3-16 00nation, INSANE HOME ADVANTAGE VAMOSSSSSSS
2022-10-31 17:29
3 replies
nice 6-15 choke by furia insane HOME CROWD ADVANTAGE MR NER0CS FROM TWITTER..DIDNT KNOW HLTV HIRE ANYBODY
2022-10-31 18:34
2 replies
Article still was excellent, since it shows a table with home success and a table with home failures. Have a nice one champ. Jesus loves you
2022-11-01 02:53
1 reply
mate its a videogame, no amount of homecrowd is gonna save you if you just fkin suck
2022-11-01 08:12
Nice article
2022-10-29 22:03
#14
 | 
Brazil high_fall1
if moviestar done it why we can't
2022-10-29 22:04
3 replies
kkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkkk
2022-10-29 22:11
You dont have mopoz
2022-10-30 12:14
1 reply
+1
2022-10-30 17:02
#15
 | 
Argentina cheapdeed
they do its called "glock in the rari"
2022-10-29 22:08
if furia wont go to play offs = changed needed
2022-10-29 22:13
1 reply
#22
 | 
Brazil rude_kid
-guerri -arT as IGL
2022-10-29 22:28
I don't think Cloud9 wins the Major in Boston if that Major is played oversees. Oddly excluded in this article. Brazilian teams will definitely get a boost from playing at home.
2022-10-29 22:13
5 replies
#23
MSL | 
United Kingdom NER0cs
Cloud9 played 15 events in America. Why didn't they win the other 14?
2022-10-29 22:30
1 reply
#28
 | 
Brazil Yung_Leann
Cus bad, Americans did lots of ghosting back in the day youtu.be/tYuAzLMoL00?t=4111
2022-10-29 22:40
#35
NAF | 
Canada Bak2BED
They talked about c9 like 5 times
2022-10-29 22:57
2 replies
Yeah, primarily the Russian version. Odd to exclude an NA team winning a major in NA in the statistics.
2022-10-29 23:39
1 reply
#53
NAF | 
Canada Bak2BED
They mentioned Boston multiple times
2022-10-29 23:54
#21
 | 
Poland miedzianek
maybe on challenger stage, but on legends-no way :D
2022-10-29 22:16
#24
 | 
Finland Lolipowerr
7-1 advantage
2022-10-29 22:32
im prepared for signs that help fallens calling
2022-10-29 22:35
ofc they will have an edge which is already planned. every org or company works for profit only, esports too. its all about making money. if bra teams will not show up it means less profit. if you think esport and cs is about talent and skill then you are dumb. teams with the most player base or fans will always hold the top line in ranking if game is still popular at that region
2022-10-29 22:43
4 replies
#36
NAF | 
Canada Bak2BED
With that logic asia would be the best cs region
2022-10-29 22:57
3 replies
#74
arT | 
Asia ke1fu
Some ppl still believe that every csgo tournament is fixed lol
2022-10-30 04:54
1 reply
#75
NAF | 
Canada Bak2BED
Why do they even follow the scene at that point lmao If it’s all rigged then stop watching
2022-10-30 04:54
do u know that cs is dead in asia. no one plays cs since pubg and valorant arrived
2022-10-30 10:56
#30
 | 
Brazil lul321
Nope, br teams usually suck with home crowd + all br teams besides furia won't even reach legends
2022-10-29 22:43
#31
 | 
Brazil isbetter
Yeah, the same edge we have against Germany at the Word Cup.. that went really well for us
2022-10-29 22:46
No
2022-10-29 22:50
Really liking this new trend of articles with very common questions discussed in the community being approached from a statistical point of view. It's always cool to see these things debunked/proven by numbers and make possible correlations. But I think this event is different, the hype surrounding it might be the biggest we have ever seen, can't wait to see Brazilian teams perform in Rio.
2022-10-29 22:50
#34
 | 
United Kingdom Leftie
i hope they've made sure the players can't hear the audience, else we'll have the audience trying to help the players like we've had in the past by making loud noises when they're near someone.
2022-10-29 22:52
#38
 | 
Hungary szia
brazil hasnt won an event in front of fans so, no.
2022-10-29 23:02
Only against tier 2 teams that usually choke or didn't experience loud crowd cheering everytime
2022-10-29 23:07
nqz and zakk!! pls fix the article @hltv
2022-10-29 23:18
#45
 | 
Canada firtlast
vibrator strat
2022-10-29 23:22
#46
 | 
Poland Snoozie1
Another common NERO W article
2022-10-29 23:25
If any Braziliaan team reaches playoff then it will be more relevant i guess .
2022-10-29 23:27
Its gonna be a shit show for sure
2022-10-29 23:29
#50
 | 
Serbia ckejo
>But we are wont to forget ???????????
2022-10-29 23:30
If I'm not mistaken, since SK, Brazilians don't do very good runs at home events, or am I wrong? I started following the scene in 2019
2022-10-29 23:36
Janelaaa!
2022-10-30 00:04
1 reply
+1
2022-10-30 12:27
They sure might....
2022-10-30 00:17
Idk i put all brasil teams to go clear challenger stage lmao
2022-10-30 00:40
they wont even make it out of the challengers stage, that would be epic, first major in rio with no brazilian team
2022-10-30 00:54
#61
 | 
Brazil hugoooo
ESL Pro League S4 Finals (São Paulo) 2016 - SK 2nd place ESL One Belo Horizonte 2018 - SK 3rd/4th place, NTC last place Dreamhack Rio 2019 - FURIA 2nd palce BLAST São Paulo 2019 - MIBR last place So far in every big international CSGO lan held in Brazil, we had either a BR team in last place, or in the grand final... probably the trend will continue on the Major.
2022-10-30 00:59
Either way, stoked for the Brazilian crowd! I just hope production makes sure there's proper audio and mic setup to be able to hear the crowd when shit happens.
2022-10-30 02:54
No, but I will scream like I'm about to die on monday at Riocentro.
2022-10-30 02:38
You can’t lurk or flank BR teams at Rio because the crowd will call you out. I think that will make a huge difference. BR teams have great aimers so if the crowd rekts your tactics and then you resort to aim dueling, it can go very bad for you. I expect at least one of the 3 BR teams to make a deep run
2022-10-30 02:56
2 replies
Yep, I expect the crowd to go full Boston major crowd
2022-10-30 03:45
BR teams wont even make playoffs wtf
2022-10-30 06:41
JANELAAA
2022-10-30 05:40
I think it adds pressure and personal issues to deal with - friends, family etc will be part of your preparation like they wouldn't usually be.
2022-10-30 05:48
#81
 | 
Brazil Brozera
Ez for imperial
2022-10-30 08:53
Nice
2022-10-30 09:53
Can't tell it advantage since Brazilian crowd usually cheers for good CS no matter who's playing.
2022-10-30 10:02
2 replies
Yh like spitting on non-braz players like last time.. lol
2022-10-30 10:17
1 reply
Aw that sucks I think it can be come exceptions like that, but not all the crowd though lol
2022-10-30 10:22
New HLTV article 🙂 It's by NER0cs 🥵 NO SCATTER PLOT? 😱
2022-10-30 10:05
1 reply
#109
MSL | 
United Kingdom NER0cs
2022-10-30 14:41
#89
 | 
Sweden Muppenlol
Hey hltv why isnt Nip win in malmö 2016 hmmmm
2022-10-30 10:29
Of course they have, because it's fixed for them
2022-10-30 11:44
imagine they dont play in those sound isolated glass rooms whatever its called ROFL its going to be so much cheating yelling from crowd
2022-10-30 12:30
Brazilian and fair play don't mix well at all
2022-10-30 12:44
Brasil will win all this year First Bolsonaro elected today Then Fúria Major And Neymar worldcup
2022-10-30 12:59
4 replies
giga based God bless
2022-10-30 13:38
1 reply
Amen
2022-10-30 14:22
For the worldcup I wish for a Brazil-Argentina final or Portugal-Argentina that would be dope asf ngl.
2022-10-30 14:48
+1 BIG W here bro.
2022-10-30 16:31
I HOPE SO... LET'S GO, PROFESSOR!
2022-10-30 14:52
#113
 | 
Indonesia Astrali5
common NER0 banger article
2022-10-30 15:18
No such thing as home advantage lol
2022-10-30 15:19
Thank you for the analysis. If I understood correctly, the world ranking (adjusted for teams participating) is used as the expected placement. I would like to see the placement vs world ranking distribution as well (without limiting to home crowd). Then, we could start to discuss whether the two distributions are really alike or distinct from each other (home crowd and general).
2022-10-31 10:05
clearly not, since 00nation and imperial both bombed out 0-3
2022-11-02 09:37
Login or register to add your comment to the discussion.
Now playing
Thumbnail for stream
United Kingdom
ESL TV
2898 viewers
Top streams
All(22)
Casters(7)
Streamers(7)
Organizers(8)
United Kingdom
ESL TV
(2898)
Russia
Dosia
(1618)
Sweden
f0rest
(1165)
France
KRL
(806)
Sweden
GeT_RiGhT
(727)
United Kingdom
Champion of Champions
(659)
Sweden
olofmeister
(639)
Other
EU Pro League
(277)
Brazil
Jogando Junto
(227)
Russia
EU Pro League
(226)
Russia
Champion of Champions
(185)
Sweden
friberg
(177)
France
1pv
(155)
United States
Laski
(146)
Romania
Nexus
(153)
Brazil
bt0
(124)
Brazil
mch
(117)
Brazil
BTSBrasilFPS
(37)
United States
FishTheHusky
(37)
Australia
Rickeh
(14)
Ukraine
Champion of Champions
(3)
Other
Champion of Champions 2
(2)