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How Are Schedules for Professional Leagues Created?
The schedule makers will have to work around activities that are already set to take place at or near stadiums – events that may clash with the games, put excessive strain on the playing field, or cause traffic or logistical issues. Almost a full year prior each league begins gathering information from the teams about any activities that might cause scheduling issues.
Internal constraints also restrict the schedulers. Every year, a system decides each club's opponents, and a rotating schedule ensures that each team plays their needed games. Some sports require that you play a set amount of games against a conference foe while others are much looser.
Thousands of cloud-based computers are used to generate thousands of different schedules, setting the scene for schedule designers to begin the difficult chore of selecting the best one.
What Conflicts do Schedules Have to Look For?
One of the first things they do is reach out to the teams to see if they have any issues in town that prevent them from being at home on a certain day. The New York Mets, for example, play in close proximity to the US Open tennis tournament's venue.
They can accomplish both on the same day, although the Mets are normally sent on a road trip during the playoffs. Many NBA venues also host hockey games, so they aim to limit the number of times they must switch. On Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, they will not show NHL, but on Tuesdays and Thursdays, they will show NBA.
After that, they implement travel schedules. In the NBA, MLB, and NHL, a team will attempt to travel across the nation in one trip. Los Angeles will not fly to Boston, San Francisco, and then New York. A west coast squad would go to Boston, Philadelphia, and New York in one trip.
Because the games are only played once a week, the NFL does not pay as much attention to this, although it is occasionally an issue. A few years ago, the Seahawks played three games: one in Baltimore, one at home, and one in Washington. They made a concerted effort to schedule road games including back-to-back games with Baltimore and Washington.
Finally, they collaborate with the various networks. On Christmas Day, the NBA aims to have a full schedule of big games. On Sunday and Monday evenings, the NFL strives to put together good matches. If you are a Pacers fan, based on their performance this year, you can be confident they won't be shown on national television again this year. The Jacksonville Jaguars have not played in an NFL game on a Sunday or Monday in seven years.
Despite this, the leagues come up with a list of five or six probable schedules. It's difficult to please everyone 100 percent of the time. That implies they'll have to think about who they'll annoy and the consequences. If CBS had a horrible season this year, Fox may have a bad season next year. If the Miami Marlins had a lot of west coast road games last season during a pennant fight, they'll strive to have less in September the next year.
How do the Schedules Change During the Season?
Schedule makers end up putting the schedules together prior to the season but in many leagues, the game times are not set at that point. For example, if you had a 49ers and Rams game scheduled months in advance at 1:00 on a Sunday you would not be able to flex that into a primetime slot if both teams are playing well.
Alternatively, a game that might look good on paper early in the season may not be very good once games are played. This works for all sports as the leagues are trying to maximize the visibility for their top players and teams. Doing this makes the league money and in turn markets the league to a broader audience.Leagues have been doing this for years in order to get the best games each week into a slot that a national audience will see. This is most prevalent in the NFL as the teams vying for a playoff bid generally play in the most visible time slots at the end of Week 17 and 18.