Bye (sports)

term in sports

A bye in sports and other competitive activities can have two different meanings. Both mean that a participant in a competition is not required to compete while most of the other participants are. Its main use is in tournament competitions. In single-elimination tournaments, when there are an odd number of participants, a bye allows one or more to play in a later round. Other types of eliminator tournaments may also include a bye for others reasons. An example would be as a reward for the best ranked team(s).

In round-robin tournaments where there are an odd number of competitors, usually one gets a bye in each round. However, over the whole tournament, each team plays the same number of games.

Similar to the round-robin context, in leagues where most teams play on the same days during regular-season play, a team that does not play on a given day is said to be on bye. In sports that are played weekly, especially gridiron football, a team that does not play at all during a given week is said to be on its bye week.[1] For example, during the regular football Season in the NFL, each team gets a week off (bye week) during the regular season.[2]


  1. "Fantasy Football Terms You Need to Know". Retrieved 22 October 2012.
  2. Wayne L. Winston, Mathletics: How Gamblers, Managers, and Sports Enthusiasts Use Mathematics in Baseball, Basketball, and Football (Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2009), p. 323