from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The conferences are divisions of the teams in North American university and professional sports . A team called a franchise is assigned to a conference mainly according to geographical aspects, either in an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference , or in two conferences, which are based on the traditional division of formerly competing professional leagues. In almost all team sports in college and professional sports, the winners of the conferences compete against each other in an elimination mode known as playoffs or post-season in order to win the "world" or national champions (professional or university sports) in a final game or a final series. to investigate. A controversial exception is the Bowl Championship Series in college football , the college game operation of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) in American football , which is not based on a playoff system.

The division of teams in the conferences is not fixed, but can change with the move of a team or the expansion of a league as well as with the dissolution or re-establishment of conferences.

Major League Baseball (MLB)

In Major League Baseball , the structure is similar to American football, only the former competitors are still called League instead of Conference, as they play according to slightly different rules. There are three divisions with five franchises each in the National League and American League . As in football, these can overlap geographically. For example, New York, Chicago, and Los Angeles each have franchises in the East, Central, and West divisions of each league.

The divisions in the MLB:

American League National League
American League East National League East
American League Central National League Central
American League West National League West

Major League Soccer (MLS)

The (from 2022) 29 teams of the highest professional soccer league in the USA and Canada, Major League Soccer , are divided into two conferences, West and East. There is no further subdivision, for example into divisions . In 2019, between March and October, each team played one game against the teams in the other conference and two against each team in their own conference.

In October, the seven best teams from both conferences play the play-offs in individual games, the team with the better points has home rights, while the tournament tree does not change in the further course of the tournament. The team with the highest points in a conference has a bye round, the teams seeded on four and five play their opponent for the conference semifinals, the teams seeded on 2 and 7 and the teams seeded on 3 and 6 play the opponent of the winner in the conference final out. The conference champions play for the MLS Cup at the beginning of November .

National Basketball Association (NBA)

Similar to the NHL, the basketball league National Basketball Association has been divided into an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference since the 1970/71 season . Previously there was only an Eastern and a Western Division (with the exception of an additional Central Division in the 1949/50 season ). Similar to ice hockey, the division is based on regional criteria. With currently 30 teams in the NBA, both conferences are assigned 15 teams each. Both conferences are in turn divided into three divisions of five teams each.

The divisions in the NBA:

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Atlantic Division Northwest Division
Central Division Pacific Division
Southeast Division Southwest Division

National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA)

The number and division of conferences in the university sports operations of the National Collegiate Athletic Association as well as the assignment of teams is characterized by frequent changes, which can also vary depending on the sport. In basketball, there are over 30 NCAA conferences in both the women’s and men’s division of the highest NCAA league , which roughly follow geographical conditions but often overlap with other conferences. A conference usually has around ten universities, but the number can vary according to conference and type of sport, so there can be twenty or forty members. A division is again a division of those conferences into mostly two parts, but also characterizes the three skill levels in a second meaning, including the rules of participation that apply to the university, such as the number of games, scholarships, home games or the required quality of the opponents.

National Football League (NFL)

In the American Football Professional League, the National Football League , the teams at the two conferences are not divided according to their geographical location. Instead, the division has a historical background. The two competing predecessor leagues, the National Football League and the American Football League , were merged in 1970 and each of the two conferences, the American Football Conference and the National Football Conference , now stands for one of the two leagues. There are 16 teams in each conference, divided into four divisions . As in baseball, these can overlap geographically. For example, New York and Los Angeles each have a franchise in the East and West Division of each conference.

The divisions in the NFL:

American Football Conference National Football Conference
AFC East NFC East
AFC North NFC North
AFC South NFC South
AFC West NFC West

National Hockey League (NHL)

NHL Divisions 2017/18

In the National Hockey League ice hockey league , the league is divided into an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference . In addition to the local location of the teams, it also decides how many teams there are in the east and in the west. With currently 31 teams in the NHL, the Eastern Conference has 16 teams and the Western Conference 15 teams. Both conferences are in turn divided into two divisions , with the two divisions of the East and the Pacific Division of the West each comprising eight teams, while the Central Division of the Western Conference only comprises seven. With Seattle's expansion team in the Pacific Division from the 2021/22 season, Arizona will be the eighth team to move to the Central Division.

Following the example of the NHL, the Eurasian Continental Hockey League also formed two conferences from 2009.

The divisions in the NHL:

Eastern Conference Western Conference
Atlantic Division Central Division
Metropolitan Division Pacific Division

Women's National Basketball Association (WNBA)

The twelve teams of the Women's National Basketball Association are divided into an Eastern Conference and a Western Conference . However, the conferences are of no importance for the playoffs. The only difference in regular season play between the conferences is that a team from your own conference is played four times instead of three times.

The WNBA conferences:

Eastern Conference Western Conference