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A league system is a hierarchy of leagues in a sport. They are often called pyramids, due to their tendency to split into an increasing number of regional divisions further down the system. League systems of some sort are used in many sports in many countries.
In association football, rugby union, rugby league and Gaelic games, league systems are usually connected by the process of promotion and relegation, in which teams from a lower division who finish at the top of the standings in their league are promoted (advanced to the next level of the system) while teams who finish lowest in their division are relegated (move down to a lower division). This process can be automatic each year, or can require playoffs.
In North America, league systems in the most popular sports do not use promotion or relegation. Most professional sports are divided into major and minor leagues. Baseball and association football (known as soccer in North America) have well-defined pyramid shapes to their minor league hierarchies, each managed by a governing body (Minor League Baseball, an organization under the authority of the Commissioner of Baseball, governs baseball leagues; the United States Soccer Federation designates the American soccer pyramid.) Ice hockey's professional minor league system is linear, with one league at most of the four levels of the game; the ice hockey league system in North America is governed by collective bargaining agreements and affiliation deals between the NHL, AHL and ECHL.
Gridiron football does not operate on a league system. Different professional leagues play by very different sets of rules in different seasons (the NFL plays 11-a-side on a 100-yard field in autumn and early winter, the CFL uses 12-a-side on a 110-yard field in summer and early fall, while arena football and the minor indoor leagues each play 8-a-side on a 50-yard field in the spring and early summer). There have been attempts at forming true minor leagues for the professional game (most recently with the XFL in 2020); none so far have been able to balance the major leagues' requests with the ability to maintain financial solvency.
The Italian football league system, also known as the Italian football pyramid, refers to the hierarchically interconnected league system for the association football in Italy. It consists of nine national and regional tournaments, the first three being professional, while the remaining six are amateur, set up by the Italian Football Federation. One team from San Marino also competes. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels.
Minor leagues are professional sports leagues which are not regarded as the premier leagues in those sports. Minor league teams tend to play in smaller, less elaborate venues, often competing in smaller cities/markets. This term is used in North America with regard to several organizations competing in various sports. They generally have lesser fan bases, much smaller revenues and salaries, and are used to develop players for bigger leagues.
In sports leagues, promotion and relegation is a process where teams are transferred between multiple divisions based on their performance for the completed season. The best-ranked team(s) in the lower division are promoted to the higher division for the next season, and the worst-ranked team(s) in the higher division are relegated to the lower division for the next season. In some leagues, playoffs or qualifying rounds are also used to determine rankings. This process can continue through several levels of divisions, with teams being exchanged between levels 1 and 2, levels 2 and 3, levels 3 and 4, and so on. During the season, teams that are high enough in the league table that they would qualify for promotion are sometimes said to be in the promotion zone, and those at the bottom are in the relegation zone.
A Rookie of the Year award is given by a number of sports leagues to the top-performing athlete in his or her first season within the league. Athletes competing for the first time in any given league are also known as "rookies".
A sports league is a group of sports teams or individual athletes that compete against each other and gain points in a specific sport. At its simplest, it may be a local group of amateur athletes who form teams among themselves and compete on weekends; at its most complex, it can be an international professional league making large amounts of money and involving dozens of teams and thousands of players.
Syracuse, New York, United States, is a top-division, minor-league and college sports city. Teams include the Syracuse Mets of AAA Baseball and the Syracuse Crunch of the AHL. The most attended sporting events in Syracuse are those of the NCAA Division I Syracuse University Orange.
Semi-professional sports are sports in which athletes are not participating on a full-time basis. Semi-professionals are not amateur because they receive regular payment from their team (company), but at a much lower rate than a full-time professional athlete. As a result, players may have full-time employment elsewhere. A semi-pro player/team could also be one that represents a place of employment that only the employees are allowed to play on. In this case, it is considered semipro because their employer pays them, but for their regular job, not for playing on the company's team.
Sports in Canada consist of a wide variety of games. The most common sports are ice hockey, lacrosse, gridiron football, soccer, basketball, curling and baseball, with ice hockey and lacrosse being the official winter and summer sports, respectively.
Sports in the United States is an important part of culture in the United States. American football is the most popular spectator sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball, ice hockey and soccer, which make up the "5 major sports". Indoor soccer, indoor American football, Rugby union, Rugby league, tennis, golf, auto racing, softball, field lacrosse, box lacrosse, handball, volleyball, cricket, Australian rules football, field hockey, and water polo are also played in the country. Based on Olympic Games, World Championships, and other major competitions in respective sports, the United States is one of the most successful sports nations in the world.
Rugby league is a comparatively minor sport in Scotland, dwarfed by the popularity of association football, and to a lesser extent sports such as rugby union, curling, ice hockey and shinty. With the introduction of rugby league into a small number schools and the formation of youth rugby league in Scotland it has seen juniors being signed to Super League clubs.
Professional sports leagues are organized in numerous ways. The two most significant types are one that developed in Europe, characterized by a tiered structure using promotion and relegation to determine participation in a hierarchy of leagues or divisions, and a North American originated model characterized by its use of franchises, closed memberships, and minor leagues. Both these systems remain most common in their area of origin, although both systems are used worldwide.
The Japanese association football league system is organized in a pyramidal shape similar to football league systems in many other countries around the world. The leagues are bound by the principle of promotion and relegation; however, there are stringent criteria for promotion from the JFL to J3, which demands a club being backed by the town itself including the local government, a community of fans and corporate sponsors rather than a parent company or a corporation.
The Shaughnessy playoff system is a method of determining the champion of a sports league that is not in a divisional alignment. This format is also known as the Argus finals system. It involves the participation of the top four teams in the league standings in a single elimination tournament. While the first round of the playoffs involve the pairing of the first- and fourth-place teams in one contest and the second- and third-place teams in the other, a variant of the Shaughnessy playoffs would pair the first- and third-place teams in one semifinal round and the second- and fourth-place teams in the other. In either variant, the winners of the first two games would then compete for the league championship. Some lower-level leagues use a Shaughnessy playoff for purposes of promotion to the next-higher league.
The Trinidad and Tobago football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football clubs in Trinidad and Tobago. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels and is governed by the Trinidad and Tobago Football Association at the national level. There are over eight individual leagues, containing more than ten divisions. The exact number of clubs varies from year to year as clubs join and leave leagues or fold altogether, but an estimated average of 10 clubs per division implies that more than 100 clubs are members of a league in the Trinidad and Tobago football league system.
The United States ice hockey structure includes elements from traditional American scholastic high school and college athletics, affiliated and independent minor leagues, the unique "major junior" leagues, as well as other various amateur junior and youth hockey leagues. The hierarchy of the ice hockey league system forms a pyramid with many regional minor and development leagues making up the base of the pyramid and a linear progression through the professional minor leagues leading to the National Hockey League at the top of the pyramid.
The Malaysian football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football clubs in Malaysia. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the hypothetical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system. The exact number of clubs varies from year to year as clubs join and leave leagues or fold altogether, but an estimated average of 10 clubs per division implies that hundreds of teams are members of a league in the Malaysian men's football league system.
Professional sports leagues in the United States include several major leagues as well as other professional and semi-professional leagues.
There is a wide variety of organized sports in the continent of North America. The continent is the birthplace of several of these organized sports, such as basketball, gridiron football, ice hockey, lacrosse, racquetball, rodeo, ultimate, and volleyball. The modern versions of baseball and softball, skateboarding, snowboarding, stock car racing, and surfing also developed in North America.