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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.
A hierarchy is an arrangement of items in which the items are represented as being "above", "below", or "at the same level as" one another. Hierarchy is an important concept in a wide variety of fields, such as philosophy, mathematics, computer science, organizational theory, systems theory, and the social sciences.
A sports league is a group of sports teams that compete against each other 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.
In association football, rugby union and rugby league, 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.
Association football, more commonly known as football or soccer, is a team sport played with a spherical ball between two teams of eleven players. It is played by 250 million players in over 200 countries and dependencies, making it the world's most popular sport. The game is played on a rectangular field called a pitch with a goal at each end. The object of the game is to score by moving the ball beyond the goal line into the opposing goal.
Rugby union, commonly known in most of the world simply as rugby, is a contact team sport which originated in England in the first half of the 19th century. One of the two codes of rugby football, it is based on running with the ball in hand. In its most common form, a game is between two teams of 15 players using an oval-shaped ball on a rectangular field with H-shaped goalposts at each end.
Rugby league football is a full-contact sport played by two teams of thirteen players on a rectangular field. One of the two codes of rugby, it originated in Northern England in 1895 as a split from the Rugby Football Union over the issue of payments to players. Its rules progressively changed with the aim of producing a faster, more entertaining game for spectators.
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.
Professional sports, as opposed to amateur sports, are sports in which athletes receive payment for their performance. Professional athleticism has come to the fore through a combination of developments. Mass media and increased leisure have brought larger audiences, so that sports organizations or teams can command large incomes. As a result, more sportspeople can afford to make athleticism their primary career, devoting the training time necessary to increase skills, physical condition, and experience to modern levels of achievement. This proficiency has also helped boost the popularity of sports.
The major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in those countries. The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL). Other prominent leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and Canadian Football League (CFL).
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 and smaller budgets.
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 2019's Alliance of American Football); none so far have been able to balance the major leagues' requests with the ability to maintain financial solvency.
Gridiron football, also known as North American football or, in North America, simply football, is a football sport primarily played in the United States and Canada. American football, which uses 11-player teams, is the form played in the United States and the best known form of gridiron football worldwide, while Canadian football, featuring 12-player teams, predominates in Canada. Other derivative varieties include indoor football, football for smaller teams, and informal games such as touch and flag football. Football is played at professional, collegiate, semi-professional, and amateur levels.
The National Football League (NFL) is a professional American football league consisting of 32 teams, divided equally between the National Football Conference (NFC) and the American Football Conference (AFC). The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world. The NFL's 17-week regular season runs from early September to late December, with each team playing 16 games and having one bye week. Following the conclusion of the regular season, six teams from each conference advance to the playoffs, a single-elimination tournament culminating in the Super Bowl, which is usually held in the first Sunday in February, and is played between the champions of the NFC and AFC.
The Canadian Football League is a professional sports league in Canada. The CFL is the highest level of competition in Canadian football. The league consists of nine teams, each located in a city in Canada. They are divided into two divisions: four teams in the East Division and five teams in the West Division.
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The English football league system, also known as the football pyramid, is a series of interconnected leagues for men's association football clubs in England, with five teams from Wales and one from Guernsey also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the theoretical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system, although in practice it would take a team at the bottom levels at least two decades of consistently finishing at or near the top of each successive league to reach the top level, and even then additional restrictions, particularly in regard to stadium facilities, would then come into effect at the highest levels that could prevent a club from being allowed access to the top levels. There are more than 140 individual leagues, containing more than 480 divisions.
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, that consists of 1008 divisions having 7594 teams in which all divisions are bound together by the principle of promotion and relegation, with one team from San Marino also competing. The system has a hierarchical format with promotion and relegation between leagues at different levels, allowing even the smallest club the theoretical possibility of ultimately rising to the very top of the system.
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".
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. The Syracuse Silver Knights (MISL) are the only Major League team in Syracuse; they play soccer in the War Memorial Arena.
Soccer-specific stadium is a term used mainly in the United States and Canada to refer to a sports stadium either purpose-built or fundamentally redesigned for soccer and whose primary function is to host soccer matches, as opposed to a multipurpose stadium which is for a variety of sports. A soccer-specific stadium may host other sporting events and concerts, but the design and purpose of a soccer-specific stadium is primarily for soccer. Some facilities have a permanent stage at one end of the stadium used for staging concerts.
Semi-professional sports are sports in which athletes for whom sport is not a full-time occupation. 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 a second full-time job. A semipro 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 the United States are an important part of American culture. American football is the most popular sport to watch in the United States, followed by baseball, basketball, hockey, and soccer. Tennis, golf, wrestling, auto racing, arena football, field lacrosse, box lacrosse and volleyball are also popular sports in the country.
Professional sports leagues are organized in numerous ways. The two most significant types are one that developed in Europe, characterised 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.
Hong Kong Football Club or Natixis HKFC is a private members sports and social club in Hong Kong. It is situated in Happy Valley, with the sports pitches being inside the Happy Valley Racecourse. The 2,750-capacity Hong Kong Football Club Stadium is the Hong Kong Rugby Union home pitch.
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 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 a large number of 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.
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.