Road teams in the NBA have a new secret weapon up their sleeves, and it’s not a nicely toasted PB&J. ESPN.com just posted a new article about home-team advantage—the very real statistical effect that once gave players playing in their own stadiums a 65 percent chance of winning a game—and why it’s declined over the last two decades. The most recent proposed reason? Tinder.
“The NBA player staring at a 9:30 a.m. team breakfast in a hotel conference room the morning of the game can now log seven or eight hours of z’s and still enjoy a tryst,” writes analyst Tom Haberstroh, noting that some players even arrange to leave keys at the front desk so that their online paramours can be there waiting in their hotel rooms when they arrive in town. Put simply, the days of NBA superstars killing their performance with booze and late-night clubbing are over, thanks to the ubiquity of apps that make finding willing sex partners a literal push-button affair. (Although one unnamed former All-Star notes that Instagram is now the preferred app for traveling hook-ups, not Tinder.)
Sex isn’t the only place where the NBA road-life has become more efficient and less stressful. Home-team advantage took its first big hit in the ’90s, when teams started swapping out commercial air travel for more comfortable charter flights. Meanwhile, alcohol consumption is way down across the league, as trainers and managers hammer home its deleterious effects on high-performance bodies. The end result is an NBA where home-team advantage is down to 57 percent—a historical league low—and getting from game to game in, ahem, comfort, is as simple a process as swiping right on your phone.