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In most sports like football and hockey, the teams change position at half time. Are there any specific reasons to do so, other than fan support at one end? Will there be any specific advantage in one playing towards end over the other?

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In one game last season the teams changed ends for every change of possession, for safety reasons: sports.espn.go.com/chicago/ncf/news/story?id=5824661 –  drewbenn Mar 2 '12 at 0:29

2 Answers 2

up vote 14 down vote accepted

There are numerous factors:

  • Wind direction (either that day, or typical) for outdoor sports
  • Sun location (includes both "sun in my eyes effects" and shadows on the field effects)
  • Bench locations
  • Levelness of the field (typically top league fields are level, this is less true at lower levels)
  • Fan location (sometimes fans of each team will congregate in a particular location)

These are a few reasons why a team might choose a particular side rather than choose who gets the ball first.

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This is correct, though it should be noted that at higher and higher levels, the fields are constructed so as to eliminate the relevance of more and more of these factors (even wind, in the case of indoor stadiums), at which point switching sides becomes a formality. –  Steely Dan May 25 '12 at 3:03

In outdoor sports, the changing of the ends is mainly to avoid accidentally giving one team an unfair advantage due to wind direction, sun in the eyes, and so forth.

Originally, halftime was also an opportunity to change the rules; the first half was played by one team's normal rules and the second half by the other team's rules. Changing ends was just another way to differentiate the halves.

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