All posts by Stewart

Sticking to the schedule

One of my favorite SportsBiz columns for ColoradoBiz Magazine provides a behind-the-scenes look at how sports leagues figure out which teams will play when, and where. From June 2005, here’s a profile of a math genius and his work.

Puzzle Flickr Olga Berrios 4-16

The Nuggets couldn’t play at home during the last weekend in February because of back-to-back Freestyle Motocross events at Pepsi Center. Instead, the team was in Memphis on Friday and in New Orleans on Sunday night, the latter game dictating the Nuggets couldn’t play a day game Monday. Which was perfectly fine, because the players had to travel back to Denver anyway for a game Tuesday night. Which would have left Wednesday available for a home game, except that Pepsi Center was reserved for an Avalanche-Predators game that night.

A Rubik’s cube is child’s play compared to the computational puzzle that surrounds sports-league scheduling. Trying to squish thousands of games into the calendar while accounting for everything from Paul McCartney concerts to network TV demands is about as easy as nailing a three with Allen Iverson in your face. Scheduling means diving into a muddy brew of restrictions, parameters, rules, quirks, unanticipated changes, divisional conflicts, travel limitations and dozens of other ingredients that clamor for consideration. Continue reading Sticking to the schedule