Tournaments Group Stage Format Explained

Round-robin, Single-elimination, double-elimination, group stage, Swiss format, what is the difference between them?

When it comes to modern tournaments whether it is in sports league such as the NBA, NFL, MMA, or esports league, you have definitely stumbled into a large variety of terms that can be confusing, let us explain them for you today.

Most of the time, tournaments involving many teams are split into the group-stage and the play-offs. The playoff stage can be considered the main part of the tournament, usually where games will be played with wide coverage in a big stage.

Meanwhile, group stages are used to filter the strongest team to be slotted in to the playoffs. Often times especially in esports, the group stages are played off-stage with online coverage. There are a variety of group stage, each of them has one main purpose: To filter out the most qualified teams involved in the tournament to enter the main event – The Playoffs.

Group Stage: Aggregate Matches

Aggregate matches are most commonly seen in soccer leagues and not as common or even completely non-existent in other sports leg.

Aggregate matches are usually composed of two “legs” or commonly known as series. Competing teams will play two series against one another and the combined score of both series will be aggregated to decide the final winner.

In cases where the aggregate score is tied, there will be an extra 15-minute overtime period to play. If no conclusion is formed after, there will be a penalty kick.

Example of aggregate matches in World Cup CAF Qualifiers

Group Stage: Round-robin

A round-robin allows a league to have multiple parlays from a set of selected games. Following this format, all teams in a bracket will play against every other team once. This is usually done by seeding a number of teams (No strict requirement, could be as little as 4 and as many as more than 10).

The benefit is this format is the wide bracket of competition results in great viewership, the flaw is that it can be hard to coordinate over a large amount of games potentially going on at the same time, the schedule can be very packed in these formats the more teams are involved.

Round-robin formats are widely used across all types of sports league due to how straight-forward it is, making it a welcome format with viewers.

Example of round-robin matches in Dota 2 League

Group Stage: Swiss Format

Swiss tournament are a bit more complicated than the other formats, however, it is also by virtue the most effective at filtering the best teams. Furthermore, it is the best solution when there are a large amount of participants.

Competitors meet one-on-one in each round and are paired using a set of rules designed to ensure that each competitor plays opponents with a similar running score, but does not play the same opponent more than once. The winner is the competitor with the highest aggregate points earned in all rounds. 

Going by this system, there is a strong guarantee that players that advance further are the strongest players, and that they will match up against competitors of equal level as theirs.

Overview of Swiss format

As shown in the above example,Swiss format employs a system where in in each round, teams of equal strength are matched up against each other. This system is commonly employed in chess tournaments.

Learn more about the ins-and-outs of sports league and tournaments today with GamingSafe!

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