League (sport)

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A league is a competition or division in team sports . The term division is used for this in English-speaking countries . It is a regional grouping of a fixed number of teams in various sports .


The noun “league” has its origin in Latin , where it means in particular “federation” (also “ confederation of states ”), “ alliance ”, “ confederation ”; the Latin league is derived from the verb ligare , '(to / to) bind', 'to unite'. In the 15th century it became ligar with the similar meaning 'bind', 'connect' or 'unite'.


For the usually annual cycle (“ season ” or “playing time”), a game plan is specified that regulates the time sequence of the encounters. In most leagues, each team competes twice against every other participant in the league during a season. In some sports, such as ice hockey or basketball, each team plays four times against each opponent during the season. The number of home and away games is distributed equally among all teams for reasons of fairness.

The league table, which reflects the placement of the teams in a league, results from the game results. At the end of a season, this ranking decides on the championship ( leader of the table ) and, if necessary, on promotion and relegation to the next higher or lower division level. If a league is divided into several groups (seasons) due to too many participants or too great a distance between the venues, it is called a multi-track league. In this case, the regular round of play is often followed by playoffs. To determine the champion, these are so-called “finals” or “ play-offs ”.

Relegation matches are held to determine who has been promoted or relegated (the number of promoted and relegated members is always the same) . The mode used is different and depends on the particular league system used . The North American professional leagues with teams from the USA and Canada are usually organized as a franchise system in which there are no promoted or relegated teams. In addition, the teams occasionally move to other cities and new teams can "buy" themselves into the league or others drop out, which means that the number of participants can fluctuate greatly over the years, as in the NBA .

Divisions in North America

A division is the smallest group division in various US sports . Depending on the sport and league, it contains between four and eight teams and, together with one or more other divisions, forms a conference , two conferences usually form the league (in baseball, one speaks of league instead of conference ).

Divisions are not static, but their teams can be moved among each other at any time when new teams are added or the new system is played. The number of divisions in a conference does not always have to remain the same, but the two conferences always contain the same number of divisions. In the case of the NBA and their names were Conferences 1970 until its launch in Divisions . With the introduction of the conferences, the division into divisions was finally introduced.

In the university sport of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA), however, the term division describes the division of universities according to their size. Division I schools must offer seven sports for both sexes (or six for men and eight for women), two of which must be team sports. There are also regulations regarding the number of games, opponents, home games and scholarships.

The scope of the regulations decreases for Division II and the largest of the three divisions, the scholarship-free Division III, but two team sports for both sexes are required for each division. The participating universities are then divided into conferences, which are roughly structured according to geography, and which in turn can be divided into an Eastern and a Western division.

Division I is also divided into three subdivisions in the field of college football , the Football Bowl subdivision , the Football Championship subdivision and the No Football subdivision .

See also

Web links

Wiktionary: Liga  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. frag-caesar.de: Keyword " league "
  2. navigium.de: Keyword " ligare "
  3. ^ NCAA GOVERNANCE. (PDF) CBS Sports, accessed on July 24, 2016 (English).
  4. Pete Volk: If the ACC goes to 3 football divisions, it could look like this. April 7, 2015, accessed July 24, 2016 .