The Info List - Regular Season

--- Advertisement ---

In an organized sports league, a typical season is the portion of one year in which regulated games of the sport are in session: for example, in Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
the season lasts approximately from April to October.[1] In other team sports, like association football or basketball, it is generally from August or September to May although in some countries - such as Northern Europe
or East Asia - the season starts in the spring and finishes in autumn, mainly due to weather conditions encountered during the winter. A year can often be broken up into several distinct sections (sometimes themselves called seasons). These are: a preseason, a series of exhibition games played for training purposes; a regular season, the main period of the league's competition; the postseason, a playoff tournament played against the league's top teams to determine the league's champion; and the offseason, the time when there is no official competition.


1 Preseason 2 Regular season 3 Postseason 4 Off-season 5 Seasons by league

5.1 Summary

6 Notes and references 7 See also

Preseason[edit] Most team sports have a period of training to recover fitness levels, followed by exhibition games (commonly known as friendlies outside North America) prior to the start of their regular seasons ("pre-season training" and "pre-season" games). The game results do not count in the season standings of the teams, so they serve conveniently to test player candidates and to practice teamwork under game conditions. They may be used to promote the team effectively both at home and elsewhere. For some teams a pre-season overseas tour may be profitable, even lucrative. For some leagues, overseas games may promote their sport or their league to new audiences. In some sports there may be a pre-season curtain-raiser or "supercup" competition—for example, in England, the previous season's winners of the FA Cup
FA Cup
and Premier League
Premier League
play one another for the Community Shield before the start of the regular season. Part of the profits from this game are divided up amongst all teams participating in both competitions the year before, to donate to charities and good causes in their local area while the rest is given to national charities and good causes by the FA itself. Regular season[edit] In sport, the term "regular season" or "home and away season"[2] refers to the sport's league competition. The regular season is usually similar to a group tournament format: teams are divided into groups, conferences and/or divisions, and each club plays a set number of games against a set number of opponents. In most countries the league is played in a double round-robin format, where every team plays every other team twice, once at their home venue, and once away at the oppositions venue as visitors. The results over all games are accumulated and when every team has completed its full schedule of games, a winner is declared. In North America, the scheduling is different. Rather than every team playing all others twice, teams usually play more games against local rivals than teams in other parts of the country. For example, the NBA's Los Angeles Lakers
Los Angeles Lakers
will play the Los Angeles Clippers
Los Angeles Clippers
(a team within their division, a subdivision of the conference) four times in a regular season, while both will only play the Boston Celtics, who are in the opposite Eastern Conference, twice. Part of this is due to the vast geographic distances between some teams in North America—measured in a straight line, Los Angeles is 2,606 miles (4,194 kilometers) from Boston, for instance—and a desire to limit travel expenses. In the scheduling system used in the NFL, it is possible for two teams to only meet every four years, and to only have 2 common opponents in a season. Major League Baseball
Major League Baseball
has the most uneven schedules of all the four major North American sports. In MLB the conferences are called leagues instead, but have exactly the same effect as conferences (as with all North American major leagues, leagues, conferences and division are not based on skill, but instead geography, history and rivalries). Teams play 19 games against each of teams in their own division each year but will only play 20 games total against all of the teams in the other league. Because each of the interleague matchups is part of a 3-game series or a 2-game series, teams will play no games at all against most teams from the other league. They play 6 of the 15 teams in the other league, a historically high number (until 1997, interleague play was limited to exhibition matches and the postseason World Series, and thus MLB teams did not play the other league's teams at all). In Australia, the two largest football leagues, the AFL (Australian rules football) and NRL (rugby league), both grew out of competitions held within a single city (respectively Melbourne and Sydney) and only began expanding to the rest of the country when inexpensive air travel made a national league possible. These leagues use a single table instead of being split into divisions. The term "home and away season" is sometimes used instead of regular season. Many football leagues in Latin America have a very different system. Because most Latin American countries never had a football cup competition, they instead split their season into two parts, typically known as the Apertura and Clausura
Apertura and Clausura
(Spanish for "opening" and "closing"). Most countries that use this system, Argentina
being one notable example, crown separate league champions for each part of the season, using only league play. A few others, such as Uruguay, crown one champion at the end of a playoff involving top teams from each half of the season. Mexico
operates its Apertura and Clausura
Apertura and Clausura
as separate competitions that both end in playoffs. Brazil
have a different system, the season starts with the state championships in January (every Brazilian state have his own championship), these state championships ends in April. The Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
Campeonato Brasileiro Série A
itself starts in May and ends in early December, and is played in a double round-robin format in the same way as the European championships. A system similar to the Apertura and Clausura
Apertura and Clausura
developed independently in Philippine professional basketball, with formerly two, now three tournaments (called "conferences") in one season, with each conference divided into an "elimination round" (the regular season) and the playoffs in the North American sense. Winning the playoffs is the ultimate goal of every team for every conference; while there is no season championship, winning all conferences within a single season is rare and has only happened five times since 1975, with the two most recent examples occurring in 1996 and 2013–14. The elimination round and playoffs setup has permeated down to the local level and in most team sports, although seasons are not divided into conferences. Postseason[edit] Main article: Playoffs Many sports leagues have playoffs or "finals" that occur after the regular season is complete. A subset of the teams enter into a playoff tournament, usually a knockout tournament, generally a pre-determined number with better overall records (more wins, fewer losses) during the regular season. There are many variations used to determine the champion, the league's top prize. In many of these leagues, winning the league's top prize at the conclusion of the postseason is more important than winning the regular season. This includes the five major U.S. sports leagues (Super Bowl, Stanley Cup Finals, NBA Finals, World Series
World Series
and MLS Cup), the major Australian sports (NBL Grand Final, A-League
Grand Final, AFL Grand Final
AFL Grand Final
and NRL Grand Final) and the CFL's Grey Cup. European leagues have also started holding playoffs after a double round-robin "regular season". The Football League
Football League
started its promotion playoffs in 1987, with the third up to the sixth-ranked teams participating for the final promotion berth (the two top teams are automatically promoted). Elsewhere, relegation playoffs are also held to determine which teams would be relegated to the lower leagues. One prominent top-level football league, the Eredivisie
of the Netherlands, uses two different playoffs—one for relegation purposes, and the other to determine one of the league's entrants in the following season's UEFA Europa League. In Superleague Greece, which currently has two places in the UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League
and three in the Europa League, the teams that finish second through fifth in the regular season enter a home-and-away "playoff" mini-league. Since one Europa League place is reserved for the country's cup winner, only three of the four teams are guaranteed a place in the next season's European competitions (unless both the cup winner and runner-up are already qualified for Europe
by other means). The playoff determines the country's second Champions League participant, and the points at which the two or three Europa League entrants join that competition. Conversely, some leagues like the Premier League
Premier League
do not hold a postseason, and therefore these leagues' champions and relegation are instead based on the regular season records. Although rugby union did not become professional until 1995, that sport has a long history of playoffs, primarily in France
and the Southern Hemisphere. The French national championship, now known as Top 14, staged a championship final in its first season of 1892, first used more than one round of playoffs in 1893, and has continuously operated a playoff system (except during the two World Wars) since 1899. South Africa's Currie Cup
Currie Cup
has determined its champions by playoffs since 1968, and New Zealand's National Provincial Championship, the top level of which is now known as the Mitre 10 Cup, has used playoffs since its creation in 1976. Argentina's Nacional de Clubes has determined its champion by playoffs since its inception in 1993. Currently, two separate competitions feed into the Nacional, the Torneo de la URBA (for Buenos Aires clubs, held since 1899) and Torneo del Interior (for the rest of the country); both use playoffs to determine their champions. Super Rugby, involving regional franchises from Australia, New Zealand, and South Africa
South Africa
and national franchises in Argentina
and Japan, has used playoffs to determine its champions since its creation as Super 12 in 1996. By contrast, other European countries were slow to adopt playoffs in rugby union. The English Premiership only began playoffs in 1999–2000, and did not use them to determine the league champion until 2002-03. The Celtic League, now known as Pro14, resisted a playoff system even longer; its champions were determined solely by league play from its inception in 2001–02 until playoffs began in 2009–10. When the UEFA Champions League
UEFA Champions League
reformatted in 1993, it added a "knockout stage" involving four teams that finished at the top two places in their respective groups. Like North American sports leagues, this setup prevented some participants from facing each other, necessitating a two-round knockout stage to determine the champions. It has since been expanded to the 4-round knockout stage today. The Copa Libertadores
Copa Libertadores
has applied a knockout stage since the 1988 tournament, expanding to the current four-round format next season. All intercontinental club football competitions now feature a knockout stage. Off-season[edit] The off-season, vacation time, or close season is the time of year when there is no official competition. Although upper management continues to work, the athletes will take much vacation time off. Also, various events such as drafts, transfers and important off-season free agent signings occur. Generally, most athletes stay in shape during the off-season in preparation for the next season. Certain new rules in the league may be made during this time, and will become enforced during the next regular season. As most countries which have a league in a particular sport will operate their regular season at roughly the same time as the others, international tournaments may be arranged during the off season. For example, most European football league club competitions run from July or August to May, subsequently major international competitions such as the FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
and UEFA European Football Championship
UEFA European Football Championship
are organised to occur in June and July. Seasons by league[edit] This is a dynamic list and may never be able to satisfy particular standards for completeness. You can help by expanding it with reliably sourced entries. The table represents typical seasons for some leagues by month. Blank or white denotes off-season and pre-season months and solid colors mark the rest of the year. Leagues in the same sport use the same color.

"E" denotes exhibition/preseason games. "Q" denotes pre-competition qualifiers. "S" denotes the start of the regular-season. "P" denotes playoff(s)/postseason/knockout stages. "F" denotes Final(s).

League Sport Countries/Regions Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec

ABL Baseball

P F               S    

A-League Association football

      P F         S    

ACB Basketball [nb 1]         P P F       S    

AFC Champions League Association football Asia   Q S           P P F

AFL Arena Football

S       PF

AFL Australian rules football

    S           P F      

AIHL Ice hockey

      S       P F        

ATP World Tour Tennis Worldwide S                   F  

ANZ Championship Netball

  S       P F          

AUDL Ultimate Frisbee

      S       P F        

Asia Series Baseball Asia                     P F  

Premier League Cricket

                    S P F

Big Bash League Cricket

  P F                   S

CAF Champions League Association football Africa   Q Q S             P F  

Aviva Premiership Rugby union

        P F       S      

Bundesliga Association football


Campeonato Brasileiro Série A Association football


CFL Canadian football

          E S       P F  

Caribbean Premier League Cricket

          S P F          

Chinese Super League Association football


CONCACAF Champions League Association football North America   P P P F                

CONCACAF League Association football North America               P P P F    

Copa Libertadores Association football South America S

P P F            

Copa Sudamericana Association football South America               S


County Championship Cricket



CPBL Baseball

    S             F    

DTM Motorsport


Euro Beach Soccer League Beach soccer Europe           S

P F      

European Rugby Champions Cup[nb 2] Rugby union Europe       P F         S    

European Tour[nb 3] Golf Europe[nb 4]                     F S

FIFA Club World Cup Association football Worldwide                       Q P F

Formula One Motorsport Worldwide     S                  

Greek Basket League Basketball

        P P F       S    

Guinness Pro14 Rugby union [nb 5]         P F       S      

HSBC World Rugby Sevens Series Rugby sevens
Rugby sevens
(union) Worldwide                   S    

Indian Premier League Cricket

      S P F            

IndyCar Series Motorsport [nb 6]     S                  

J1 League Association football


KBL Basketball

    P F           S    

KBO Baseball

      S           P F    

KHL Ice hockey [nb 7]     P P F         S      

La Liga Association football


LBPRC Baseball

P F                 S    

Lega Basket Serie A Basketball

        P P F       S    

LIDOM Baseball

P F                 S    

Liga MX Association football [nb 8] S       P   F     S     P P   F

Ligue 1 Association football [nb 9]               S        

LMB Baseball

    E S       P F[nb 10]      

LMP Baseball

P F                 S    

Tour Golf [nb 11] S                      

LVBP Baseball

P F                 S    

MLB Baseball

  E E S         P P F F[nb 12]  

MLL Lacrosse

        S     P F        

MLS Association football

    S             P P F

Grand Prix motorcycle racing Motorsport Worldwide     S                  

NASCAR Motorsport [nb 13]   E S             P[nb 14] P P F  

NBA Basketball

      P P P F     E E S    

NBL Basketball

  P P F           S    

NFL American football [nb 15] P F           E S      

NHL Ice hockey

      P P P F     E S    

NHRA Drag racing

  S             P[nb 16] P P F  

NLL Lacrosse

        P F             S

NRC Rugby union [nb 17]               S   P F  

NRL Rugby league

    S           P F    

NCAA basketball Basketball

    P P F             S  

NCAA football American football

P F               S   P[nb 18] P F[nb 18]

NPB Baseball

    S             P F  

PGA Tour Golf [nb 19]               P P   F S  

PBA Basketball

P P   F   S   P   F F S

P   F   S    

Premier League Association football [nb 20]               S        

Premier Soccer League Association football


Primera División (Argentina) Association football [nb 21]               S        

Serie A Association football


Serie del Caribe Baseball Caribbean   P F                    

Serie Nacional de Béisbol Baseball

P F                   S  

Sheffield Shield Cricket

    F             S    

Super League Rugby league

  S             P P F    

Supercars Championship Motorsport [nb 22]   S                    

Superleague Greece Association football

      P P F   S        

Super Rugby Rugby union [nb 23]   S       P[nb 24] P F[nb 25] P F[nb 26]        

Top 14 Rugby union

        P F[nb 27]   S        

Turkish Airlines EuroLeague Basketball Europe P P P P F       Q Q S    

UEFA Champions League Association football Europe   P P P F   Q Q S      

UEFA Women's Champions League Association football Europe P P P P F     Q S P P P P

UEFA Europa League Association football Europe   P P P F   Q Q S      

WNBA Basketball

        E S    

P F[nb 28]    

WNBL Basketball

  P P F             S    

WRC Motorsport Worldwide S                      

WTA Tour Tennis Worldwide                   F S  

^ A team from Andorra, BC Andorra, has competed in the league since the 2014–15 season. ^ Replaced the former European club competition, the Heineken Cup, effective in 2014–15. ^ The current scheduling, in which the season starts in January, took effect in 2012. In 2010 and 2011, the schedule began late in the previous calendar year. ^ The bulk of the tour's sole-sanctioned events are in Europe, with some in the Persian Gulf
Persian Gulf
countries. It co-sanctions many other events with tours in Asia, Africa, and Australia. Along with the PGA Tour, the European Tour co-sanctions the major championships and the World Golf
Championships; one of the majors is held in the UK, one of the WGC events is held in China, and the rest of these events are in the US. ^ The league originally involved only the three Celtic nations; Italy joined beginning in the 2010–11 season, and South Africa
South Africa
in 2017–18. ^ Since the 2015 season, the only series race held outside the U.S. is hosted by Canada. Australia, Brazil, and Japan
have hosted races in the past. ^ As of the current 2017–18 season, there are 21 teams in Russia
and one each in Belarus, China, Finland, Kazakhstan, Latvia, and Slovakia. ^ Like many football leagues in Latin America, Mexico
divides its season into two phases with separate champions in each phase. Unlike most leagues in that sport, Liga MX
Liga MX
uses a knockout playoff, involving the top eight teams after league play, to determine its champions. ^ The current 2017–18 season features one team from Monaco
in AS Monaco, which has been in the league on numerous occasions, most recently since the 2013–14 season. ^ The Serie del Rey usually ends in September. ^ Most LPGA
events are held in the US, but it also sole-sanctions official money events in Thailand, Singapore, Mexico, China, Canada, Malaysia, and Taiwan, as well as an unofficial event in Brazil. Since 2013, two of its majors, one in the UK and the other in France, have been co-sanctioned with the Ladies European Tour. The LPGA
also co-sanctions events with the Korean LPGA
and Japan
in those countries and the ALPG Tour in Australia. ^ The World Series
World Series
usually ends in late October, but can extend into early November. ^ Since the 2013 season, the top two NASCAR
touring series, the Cup Series and Xfinity Series, race only in the US. The third-level Truck Series has a race in Canada. The Xfinity Series
Xfinity Series
has previously held races in Canada
and Mexico. NASCAR
also operates national series in Canada
and Mexico
and a European series, plus many regional developmental series in the US. ^ NASCAR
has used a playoff-style system to determine the champion of the Cup Series since 2004; in 2016, it extended this system to its other two U.S. national touring series. The playoffs in the Xfinity and Truck Series are shorter than that of the Cup Series. ^ The NFL
currently takes at least one regular-season game outside the US (London since 2007). The Jacksonville Jaguars
Jacksonville Jaguars
are in the middle of a eight-year period (2013–2020) in which one home game is in London. The 2017 season will be the second consecutive season in which the Oakland Raiders
Oakland Raiders
will play one home game in Mexico
City. For several years in the early 21st century, the Buffalo Bills
Buffalo Bills
played one home game per season in Toronto. ^ The NHRA
Mello Yello Drag Racing Series uses a playoff system known as the Countdown to the Championship to determine the champion of each of the four drag racing classes. ^ The competition was established in 2014 as a solely Australian affair; the Fijian Drua
Fijian Drua
joined in 2017. ^ a b The NCAA has never recognized an official champion in the top-level Division I FBS. Although the four-team College Football Playoff began in 2014, it is not an official NCAA championship event. All other NCAA divisions determine officially recognized champions in playoff tournaments that start in November. The playoffs in Divisions II and III end in December. Since the 2010 season, the Division I FCS playoffs end in January. ^ The vast majority of the PGA Tour's sole-sanctioned events are in the US proper, but the tour also has events in Malaysia, Mexico, Canada, and Puerto Rico. Along with the European Tour, the PGA Tour co-sanctions the major championships and the World Golf
Championships; one of the majors is held in the UK, one of the WGC events is held in China, and the rest of these events are in the US. ^ The current 2016–17 season features one team from Wales
in Swansea City, which has been in the league since the 2011–12 season. ^ The 2016–17 season marked the completion of Argentina's transition from its former calendar-year Apertura and Clausura
Apertura and Clausura
season format to a single league season spanning two calendar years. ^ Currently, one race is held in New Zealand. Bahrain, China, the United Arab Emirates, and the USA have staged races in the past. Longer-term plans call for additional races in Hong Kong, India, the Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, and South Korea. ^ Argentine and Japanese teams joined the competition in 2016. The Japanese team divides its "home" matches between Tokyo and Singapore. ^ The playoffs, or "finals" as they are officially called, begin in late June in Rugby World Cup
Rugby World Cup
years. ^ During World Cup years, the final match is held in July; in other years, the finals begin in July. ^ In non-World Cup years, the final match is held in August. ^ Depending on the calendar, the final may fall on the last weekend of May in some seasons. ^ During Summer Olympic years, the W NBA Finals
NBA Finals
run into late October. In non-Summer Olympic years, the W NBA Finals
NBA Finals
end in early October.


Sport Duration

American football Originally football was played only in the fall, but for many years the season has extended from late summer through early to mid-winter.

The 16-game NFL
regular season currently begins the second weekend in September (after a month of exhibition games) and ends 17 weeks later around New Year's Day. The playoffs culminate with the Super Bowl
Super Bowl
on the first Sunday in February. The college season begins the last week in August. The regular season ends in late November, with playoff and bowl games throughout December and early January. Indoor football, past professional leagues such as the USFL and XFL, and some women's and amateur leagues play in the February to August season.

Association football Usually August to May in the Northern Hemisphere, and February to November in the Southern Hemisphere. Exceptions are generally for one of two reasons:

In some northern countries with severe winter weather (such as the United States, Norway, and Sweden), the season is contested within a calendar year (roughly March to November) to avoid the worst weather.

However, other leagues use winter breaks to avoid most of the coldest days to prevent players suffering from hypothermia.

In some countries where soccer competes with locally more popular football codes (i.e. Major League Soccer
Major League Soccer
in the U.S., A-League
in Australia), the season is arranged so as to minimize the time that it is in conflict with the more popular code(s). This arrangement also eases scheduling concerns regarding venues used for multiple football codes. However, in the case of the United States' MLS, their regular seasons can conflict with major tournaments such as the Gold Cup and FIFA World Cup
FIFA World Cup
due to the demand of the league's best national players to participate in the national squad.

(See Domestic association football season
Domestic association football season
for details.)

Australian rules football March to late August, with finals series extending up to late September or early October.

Baseball April to early October, with playoffs extending up to early November. The Australian Baseball League
Australian Baseball League
runs from November to early February, with playoffs extending up to late February.

Basketball In most countries, late October to mid-April, with playoffs extending up to mid-June. The three major exceptions to this rule are:

The U.S. college basketball season begins in mid-November. The regular season ends in the first days of March, followed by conference tournaments and then national championship tournaments that run into early April. The Philippine Basketball
Association has a unique calendar. Its season runs from early October to August, and is divided into "conferences"—not the North American concept of subgroupings within a larger competition, but rather separate competitions involving the same set of teams, similar to football's Apertura and Clausura
Apertura and Clausura
in Latin America. The season was divided into three conferences from 1975 to 2003. It then transitioned to a two-conference season in 2004, and also changed to a season spanning two calendar years, with the transition completed in the 2004–05 season. The PBA returned to a three-conference season effective in 2010–11. The season starts with the Philippine Cup, restricted to Filipino players, followed by two other tournaments in which teams can field one non-Filipino, the Commissioner's and Governors Cups. The WNBA season is scheduled during the offseason of its parent league, the NBA. When the league was launched, all of its teams were owned by NBA teams and generally played in the same arenas as their NBA counterparts; however, this has changed over time. The scheduling also allows many WNBA players to participate in overseas leagues, primarily in Europe, Australia, and China, during the traditional basketball season.

Canadian football July to late October, with playoffs extending into November.

Cricket Year-round. Domestic seasons typically held in the driest period of the year—summer in temperate climates, dry season in tropical climates.

Golf Year-round

Ice hockey Early October to mid-April, with playoffs extending up to early June. The three major exceptions to this rule are:

The U.S. men's college hockey season begins in early October. The regular season ends in late February or early March, followed by conference tournaments and then a national championship tournament that runs into mid-April. The women's season typically begins and ends two or three weeks earlier than the men's. The KHL regular season begins in early September and ends in late February. The playoffs run from March to mid-April. The Australian Ice Hockey League's season runs from April to mid-August, with playoffs extending up to late August.

Motor racing Year-round, but generally concentrated from March to October. NASCAR runs from mid-February to late September, with playoffs extending up to late November.

Rugby league Late February to October in both the Northern and Southern Hemispheres.

Rugby union September to late May, sometimes the first weekend in June, in the Northern Hemisphere. In the Southern Hemisphere, Super Rugby
Super Rugby
starts in February and ends in early July in World Cup years and mid-August in other years. Domestic competitions in New Zealand
New Zealand
and South Africa overlap slightly with the Super Rugby
Super Rugby
season, starting in July and ending in October or November. In Australia, the domestic competition does not overlap at all with Super Rugby, instead beginning in August and ending in early November.

Swimming Year-round

Tennis Year-round

Notes and references[edit]

^ Jay Jaffe (September 8, 2014). "MLB announces 2015 schedule with April start, October finish".  ^ Rodney D. Fort; John Fizel (2004). International Sports Economics Comparisons. Greenwood Publishing Group. pp. 316–. ISBN 978-0-275-98032-0. 

See also[edit]

Domestic association foo