Sport leagues and tournaments around the world are scheduled on a daily basis by thousands of professional and non-professional sport federations, associations, clubs and organisers. Events such as the Football World Cup or the Olympics have high resonance and are broadcasted across the world to millions of fans, with different countries fighting over the rights to organise them. Many professional federations and leagues (across sport disciplines) also have a high following, significantly contributing to the economy and social fabric of nations. In addition, millions of people engage in amateur/non-professional sport competitions, which directly or indirectly affect their lives and those of the people around them. In such a setting, it is not hard to make a case for the importance of sport scheduling and its impact on society.
For professional sport federations, schedules affect a variety of stakeholders (teams, fans, communities). The quality of such schedules affects the revenue of the teams (and federations themselves), as television networks are willing to pay higher broadcasting rights depending on whether the schedule meets certain requirements (e.g. games that draw larger audiences are scheduled on 'attractive' dates). Fans often also decide whether to buy tickets based on similar reasons. Improved scheduling boosts attendance and generates a positive effect on the local economy. Additionally, more attendance rates and viewers increase the chances of attracting greater sponsoring or advertising income from national and international firms.
Non-professional tournaments are scheduled in the hundreds of thousands each year, each involving many participants, families, businesses and communities. Unevenly distributed games, unnecessarily long tournaments and long travelling distances are only some of the many problems that participants typically face. Bad scheduling can be simply inconvenient but also result in teams resigning from tournaments, reducing income for clubs and organisers, which, in turn, reduces the number of tournaments. A particular case must be made for youth tournaments, which are a large share of the total. The surging trend of 'marginalising' physical activities in school makes the role of such tournaments ever more central from a societal point of view, and efficient scheduling should foster participation and increase convenience for families.