Title:
Competitive Scoring System
Kind Code:
A1


Abstract:
A won/lost record system for an athletic event may include awarding the team accumulating a greater score during a first period standing points for that period, awarding the team accumulating a greater score during a second period standing points for that period, awarding the team accumulating a greater score during a third period standing points for that period, awarding the team accumulating a greater score during a fourth period standing points for that period, awarding the team having a greater score at the end of the game standing points for the game, and summing the standing points awarded throughout the game to obtain a game record total for each team. Standing points for periods in which both teams accumulate the same score may be awarded at the end of the next period in which one team accumulates a greater score than the other team.



Inventors:
Rich, Howard (New York, NY, US)
Crane, Edward H. (Falls Church, VA, US)
Application Number:
11/754931
Publication Date:
11/15/2007
Filing Date:
05/29/2007
Primary Class:
Other Classes:
340/323R
International Classes:
A63B71/06
View Patent Images:
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Primary Examiner:
ARYANPOUR, MITRA
Attorney, Agent or Firm:
FISH & RICHARDSON P.C. (DE) (MINNEAPOLIS, MN, US)
Claims:
What is claimed is:

1. A scoring system for a basketball game comprising: a score entry engine configured to receive a score from the basketball game; and a standing points engine configured to determine a standing points award based on the received score and a standing points scheme.

2. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the score entry engine is configured to receive the score from the basketball game at least one predetermined time.

3. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the score entry engine is configured to receive the score from the basketball game at the end of the basketball game.

4. The scoring system of claim 2, wherein the predetermined time comprises at least one time during and at the end of the basketball game.

5. The scoring system of claim 2, wherein the predetermined time comprises the end of each quarter of the basketball game.

6. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the scoring system is Internet-based.

7. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the standing points scheme comprises numerical values.

8. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the score received from the basketball game comprises a score for a first competitor and a score for a second competitor.

9. The scoring system of claim 1, further comprising a mechanism for publishing the standing points award.

10. The scoring system of claim 9, wherein the mechanism for publishing the standing points award comprises a score board.

11. The scoring system of claim 9, wherein the mechanism for publishing the standing points award comprises code for transmitting at least one of an e-mail, text message, and phone call.

12. The scoring system of claim 9, wherein the mechanism for publishing the standing points score comprises code for displaying the standing points award on a website.

13. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the standing points scheme comprises a scheme that considers a final score of the basketball game.

14. The scoring system of claim 1, further comprising a wagering engine.

15. The scoring system of claim 1, wherein the scoring points scheme comprises 1, 1, 1, 1, 3.

16. A method of scoring a basketball game comprising: receiving a standing points scheme; receiving a score of the basketball game; determining a standing points award based on the score of the basketball game and the standing points scheme.

17. The method of claim 16, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game occurs automatically.

18. The method of claim 16, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game occurs at at least one predetermined time.

19. The method of claim 16, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game occurs during and at the end of the game or event.

20. The scoring system of claim 2, wherein the predetermined time comprises the end of each quarter of the basketball game.

21. The method of claim 16, wherein the standing points scheme comprises numerical values.

22. The method of claim 16, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game comprises receiving a score for a first competitor and a score for a second competitor.

23. The method of claim 16, further comprising publishing the standing points award.

24. The method of claim 23, wherein publishing the standing points award comprises displaying the standing points award on a scoreboard.

25. The method of claim 23, wherein publishing the standing points award comprises transmitting at least one of an e-mail, text message, and phone call.

26. The method of claim 23, publishing the standing points award comprises displaying the standing points award on a website.

27. The method of claim 16, wherein the standing points scheme comprises a scheme that considers a final score of the basketball game.

28. The method of claim 16, further comprising receiving a wager.

29. The method of claim 16, wherein the scoring points scheme comprises 1, 1, 1, 1, 3.

30. A method of scoring a basketball game comprising: receiving a standing points scheme; receiving a score of the basketball game at least one predetermined time, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game comprises receiving a score for a first competitor and a score for a second competitor; determining a standing points award based on the score of the basketball game and the standing points scheme; and publishing the standing points award.

31. The method of claim 30, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game occurs automatically.

32. The method of claim 30, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game occurs during and at the end of the basketball game.

33. The scoring system of claim 30, wherein the predetermined time comprises the end of each quarter of the basketball game.

34. The method of claim 30, wherein the standing points scheme comprises numerical values.

35. The method of claim 30, wherein publishing the standing points award comprises displaying the standing points award on a scoreboard.

36. The method of claim 30, wherein publishing the standing points award comprises transmitting at least one of an e-mail, text message, and phone call.

37. The method of claim 30, wherein publishing the standing points award comprises displaying the standing points award on a website.

38. The method of claim 30, wherein the standing points scheme comprises a scheme that considers a final score of the basketball game.

39. The method of claim 30, further comprising receiving a wager.

40. The method of claim 30, wherein the scoring points scheme comprises 1, 1, 1, 1, 3.

Description:

CROSS REFERENCE TO RELATED APPLICATION

This application is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/337,155, filed Jan. 20, 2006, which is a continuation-in-part of U.S. patent application Ser. No. 11/104,838, filed Apr. 13, 2005, the entire disclosures of which are incorporated herein by reference.

TECHNICAL FIELD

This invention relates to athletic events having independent periods constituting a game, and, specifically, to a won/lost record system for such athletic events.

BACKGROUND

A number of athletic events are known that have independent periods constituting a game. For example, basketball and football have four quarters and soccer has two halves. Hockey, likewise, has three periods, with the puck being dropped at center ice at the start of each period. In all these instances, the score from the previous periods is carried over to the next period.

In games such as those described above, a team is awarded a “win” if it has the highest accumulated score at the end of the game. The National Hockey League has a modified system in which each team is awarded one point for a tie, and the teams play an overtime period with the team winning the overtime period being awarded an additional point. This system was apparently designed to encourage the teams to attempt to “win” in the overtime period, since prior to such a scoring system there was a tendency for teams to play defensively in the overtime period in order to preserve the point awarded for a tie.

Such scoring systems (including the hockey scoring system) could be improved. Fans frequently complain, for example, that professional basketball teams simply “go through the motions” early in the game, particularly during the regular season. The victory in those regular season games then goes to the team that finally takes charge, usually in the last quarter. Particularly in regular season games, one of the teams may get off to a much better start, so that the other team basically “folds,” conceding the second half (and the game) to its opponent. The winning team in such a situation also has an incentive to “coast.” Similar situations naturally arise in other sports. Unfortunately, such games (sometimes referred to as a “blow-out”) generally are not enjoyable for the fans in attendance (or watching the game on television). Fans often leave the game or, if watching on television or listening to a radio, change the channel. This situation typically is unsatisfactory to the fans, to the concessionaires, and to the advertisers.

The problem of lack of intensity in early periods can occur in many games, and many of the present scoring systems fail to address this problem.

SUMMARY

According to an embodiment of the scoring system, the scoring system comprises a score entry engine configured to receive a score from a game or event and a standing points engine configured to determine a standing points award based on the received score and a standing points scheme. The game or event may be basketball.

According to another embodiment, a method of scoring a game or event comprises receiving a standing points scheme, receiving a score of the game or event, and determining a standing points award based on the score of the game and the standing points scheme. The game or event may be basketball.

According to another embodiment, a method of scoring a basketball game comprises receiving a standing points scheme, receiving a score of the basketball game at at least one predetermined time, wherein receiving the score of the basketball game comprises receiving a score for a first competitor and a score for a second competitor, determining a standing points award based on the score of the basketball game and the standing points scheme, and publishing the standing points award.

The details of these and other non-limiting, exemplary embodiments of the scoring system and method are set forth in the accompanying drawings and the description below. Other features, objects, and advantages of the invention will be apparent from the description and drawings, and from the claims.

DESCRIPTION OF DRAWINGS

FIG. 1 is a flow chart of an embodiment of the scoring system.

FIG. 2 shows a scoreboard.

FIG. 3 shows the relevant scores on a scoreboard at the end of a first period of an athletic event.

FIG. 4 shows the relevant scores on a scoreboard at the end of a second period of the athletic event.

FIG. 5 shows the relevant scores on a scoreboard at the end of a third period of the athletic event.

FIG. 6 shows the relevant scores at the end of a fourth period of the athletic event.

FIG. 7 is a schematic diagram of a computer system.

Similar reference characters indicate similar parts throughout the several views of the drawings.

DETAILED DESCRIPTION

In games or sporting events, scores are generally kept based on certain accomplishments. As non-limiting examples, the score in a basketball game is based on the number and nature of baskets made; in a baseball game, the score is based on the number of runs; in a soccer game, the score is based on the number of goals; and in a football game, the score is based on the number of touchdowns, extra points (or point(s) after touchdown (“PAT”)), field goals, and safeties. Scores are generally tracked for a home team and a visitor team, or in sports such as tennis, archery, golf and the like, scores are tracked by a person's name.

As described herein, a scoring system is used to determine “standing points.” “Standing points” may be awarded to a team based on a score of an event or game. A “standing point” may be a number that is awarded to a team at a predetermined time in a game or sporting event. Standing points may also be awarded at the end of the game or event based on the final score of the game or event. The term “standing points” is used to distinguish the record being kept from the actual “points” or “score” of the event or game based on the rules of the event or game, respectively. At the end of the event or game, the sum of a team's standing points is calculated to determine a final standing points score.

A game or sporting event typically has a plurality of competitors, which may be teams or individuals, that accumulate scores throughout the game or event in accordance with the rules of the game or event. At predetermined times, standing points are awarded. In some embodiments, the predetermined times for awarding standing points are the end of each quarter, period, or half in a game or event that has quarters, periods, or halves, respectively. In some embodiments, the predetermined times are a specified number of minutes, seconds, hours, or the like. As a non-limiting example, the predetermined times may be 10 minutes from the beginning of each quarter, period or half of a game or event that has quarters, periods, or halves, respectively. As another non-limiting example, the predetermined times may be 10 minutes, 20 minutes, 30 minutes, and 40 minutes after the game or event begins. In some embodiments, the predetermined times are at the end or beginning of a time out or stoppage of play. One skilled in the art will recognize the various predetermined times that may be used for awarding standing points.

The number of standing points to be given at the predetermined times is determined prior to the beginning of the event or game. The number of standing points to be awarded at a predetermined time may be consistent throughout a season. Alternatively, the number of standing points may be variable throughout the season, including, but not limited to, different standing points being awarded during the preseason, regular season, playoffs, and/or finals. In some embodiments, the number of standing points to be awarded are not predetermined and instead are based upon the difference in the competitors' scores at a predetermined time. In some embodiments, standing points are awarded during the “regular” season and not during the playoffs or finals.

In some embodiments, standing points are awarded to the competitor who is “winning” at a predetermined time. In some embodiments, the competitor who is “losing” is awarded standing points. In other embodiments, both the “winning” and “losing” competitors at the predetermined time are awarded standing points. In some embodiments, after standing points are awarded at predetermined times, the sum of the standing points awarded for each competitor may be calculated.

In some embodiments, standing points are awarded when certain accomplishments are reached. The accomplishments generally are known to the competitors and possibly spectators, if any, of the game or event. As a non-limiting example, standing points may be awarded for earning a shutout in a game or event. A shutout occurs when one competitor prevents the opposing competitor from earning a point, run, basket, score, or the like. As another non-limiting example, standing points may be awarded in golf when a player earns a birdie, eagle, or hole in one on a given hole. As yet another non-limiting example, a no-hitter in baseball may be awarded standing points. These are some of the many various accomplishments that may be awarded standing points, and one skilled in the art will recognize the accomplishments and types of accomplishments that may be awarded standing points.

It should be understood that the values for the standing points can be set as desired to promote interest in the game or event. As a non-limiting example, in a game or event that has four quarters or periods, one standing point may be awarded at the end of each quarter or period, and three or more standing points may be awarded at the end of the game or event based on the final score; thus, the standing points awarded at the end of the game are in addition to the standing points awarded at the end of each of the four quarters. In some embodiments, the number of standing points to be awarded at the end of the game or event based on the final score is not greater than the total number of standing points that are awarded prior to assigning the standing points based on the final score.

In some embodiments, the standing points are awarded at predetermined times and additional standing points are not awarded based on the final score of the game or event. As a non-limiting example, standing points may be awarded at predetermined times, such as the end of each quarter in a basketball game, and at the end of the game the standing points from the four quarters are added together to determine which team had the greater amount of standing points. In this non-limiting example, it is possible for the competitor that lost the game to earn or be awarded more standing points than the competitor that won the game. Depending on the standing points scheme, a scenario in which this may occur is a basketball game wherein Team A scores more baskets in each of the first three quarters and Team B scores more baskets in the fourth quarter and wins the game.

Various schemes for awarding standing points can be compared by using a sequence of numerals for the standing points in which the last numeral represents the standing points awarded at the end of the game or event based on the final score of the game or event. Alternatively, in embodiments where standing points are not awarded based on the final score of the game or event, the last numeral of the sequence of numerals is not used.

As a non-limiting example, in a game or event that has four quarters or periods, a standing point scheme of “1, 1, 1, 1, 3” may be used. This scheme has the standing points for the predetermined times prior to the awarding of standing points based on the final score at the end of the game or event equal to a value of “1,” and the standing points awarded at the end of the game or event based on the final score equal to a value of “3.” When two predetermined times, including but not limited to, the end of each half of a game or event, are used for awarding standing points prior to awarding the end of game or event standing points based on the final score, a non-limiting example of a standing point scheme is “1, 1, 1,” which represents standing points having a value of “1” for each half and an end of game or event standing points based on the final score having a value of “1.” It should be understood that any particular scheme could be used, but it is desired, but not required, that the standing points for each predetermined time before the awarding of the end of game or event points be equal.

There could be reasons, however, to use a system in which one of the predetermined times has more standing points than the other(s). This could be done, for example, to encourage an intense, rapid start to a game or event by assigning the first standing points (the standing points associated with the first predetermined time) a larger value. This scheme could be “3, 1, 1, 1, 5,” for example, or any other scheme that serves the purpose described herein.

Although the smallest value in the above non-limiting examples is “1,” the smallest value awarded may be smaller or larger than “1.” The scheme could be “2, 2, 2, 2, 5” (a value of “2” for the predetermined times and a value of “5” for the end of game or event standing points based on the final score). Alternatively, it may be desirable for the standing points values to decease as the game or event progresses, such as in the scheme “3, 2, 2, 1, 7,” so long as the end of game or event standing points has a sufficiently high value if end of game or event standing points are to be awarded; in some embodiments, the end of game or event standing points to be awarded do not have a sufficiently high value. In some embodiments, the standing points scheme may result in a tie after each team's standing points is calculated to determine the final standing points score. A non-limiting example of such a standing points scheme is “1, 1, 1, 1, 2.” One skilled in the art will recognize the numerous standing point schemes that may be implemented.

In some embodiments, the standing points awarded throughout the game or event are summed to obtain a total standing points for each competitor. For example, in basketball, the predetermined times may be the end of each quarter. A team could win standing points for accumulating the most points during the first quarter, standing points for accumulating the most points during the third quarter, and standing points for accumulating the most points at the end of the game. If the standing points for each quarter has a value of “1” and the standing points based on the final score has a value of “3”, the team would be awarded “5” standing points under the above scenario. (The opposing team would be awarded “2” standing points based on accumulating the most points during the second and third quarters.) In an event or game such as hockey, standing points may be awarded at the end of each of the three periods and optionally based on the final score. Similarly, in an event or game such as tennis, standing points may be awarded at the end of each set and optionally based on the victor of each match.

As will become apparent, in some embodiments, it is desired that the standing points be allocated such that the majority of standing points are awarded to the team that wins the game, even though the other team may have won more quarters. For example, a team that wins three of four quarters but loses one quarter and the game could be awarded three standing points (one for each quarter it one), while the opposing team could be awarded four standing points (one for the quarter it won and three for the game). Any similar scoring system could be used. Alternatively, in some embodiments, it is desired that the standing points be allocated such that the majority of standing points are awarded to the team that won more quarters, even if the opposing team won the game.

In addition, standing points may be divided in various ways in those cases where both competitors accumulate the same score at the predetermined time(s). In some embodiments, the standing points to be awarded at a predetermined time may be divided equally among the teams if the score is tied at the predetermined time. As a non-limiting example, if each team scores twenty points during the third quarter of a basketball game, the standing points for that quarter could be split evenly between the teams. In some embodiments, if desired, no standing points could be awarded for that period. Various possibilities are as follows based on the predetermined time being at the end of each quarter and the standing points scheme being “1, 1, 1, 1, 3,” and these possibilities are not intended to limit the field of possibilities or standing points schemes available for implementation:

    • a. If the score at the end of the first quarter is tied, no standing points are distributed. The competitor that is winning at the second quarter gets the standing points from the second quarter as well as the standing points that were to be awarded at the end of the first quarter.
    • b. If the score at the end of the first quarter is tied, no competitor gets any standing points. If the score is tied at the second quarter, no competitor gets any standing points. The competitor that wins the third quarter gets assigned the standing points from the first three quarters.
    • c. If the first quarter was tied, no competitor gets any standing points. If the second quarter is tied, no competitor gets any points. If the third quarter is tied then four additional standing points go to the winner of the game in addition to the standing points they get for winning the game anyway, if standing points are awarded based on the final score.
    • d. If the first quarter is tied, no competitor gets any standing points. If the second quarter is tied, no competitor gets any standing points. If the third quarter is tied, no competitor gets any points. If the fourth quarter is tied, then the standing points that were to be awarded at the end of each quarters go to the winner of the game in addition to the three points that competitor gets for winning the game anyway.
    • e. If a competitor wins the first quarter, that competitor gets a standing point. If the second quarter is tied, no competitor gets a standing point for that predetermined time. If the third quarter is tied, no team gets a standing point for that quarter. The winner of the fourth quarter gets three standing points.
    • f. If the third quarter is tied, no competitor gets any standing points for that predetermined time. The winner of the fourth quarter gets two points.

In the case of overtime periods, in some embodiments, it is preferred that the only standing points awarded for winning an overtime period be the standing points that were to be awarded for winning the game. In some embodiments, the value of standing points to be assigned for winning the game in regulation is different from the value of standing points to be awarded for winning the game in overtime or extended play. In some embodiments, standing points are awarded for winning an overtime or extended play period. In some embodiments, standing points are awarded both for winning the overtime or extended play period and for winning the game.

Alternatively, in some embodiments, when a score is tied at predetermined times, the standing points for those predetermined times could be accumulated in subsequent predetermined times, with the accumulated standing points being added to the standing points awarded to the winner of the game or event, in which case all predetermined times may be associated with one standing point unless tied. As a non-limiting example, assume the first quarter score in a basketball game is 22-22, the second quarter score is 23-23, the third quarter score is 21-19, and the fourth quarter score is 20-20, with the final score being 86-84. The standing points may be awarded as seven (7) standing points to the winner and zero (0) standing points to the loser, because under this alternative system tied quarter standing points go to the winner of the game.

A scoring system is used to implement embodiments described herein. In the embodiment of FIG. 1, a scoring system 100 comprises a score entry engine 102 and a standing points score engine 104. The system may optionally include a mechanism for displaying the standing points 114 and/or a wagering engine 108.

As used herein, the term “engine” is understood to mean any electrical or electronic component that may process information, such as a computer or other processor running software, whether alone or residing within a network. One or more engines described herein may be present on a single computer or network. Alternatively, one or more engines may reside on different computers or networks, or a single engine may function as a distributed program running on a number of processors, computers or networks, as understood in the art, and no particular form should be understood as a limitation on the invention. Similarly, the term “software” is also understood to include all computer code, including executable code, in any useful program language, and should not be construed as a limitation on the embodiments described herein.

Referring to FIG. 1, the score entry engine 104 may be configured to receive a score from a game or event 102. The score may be received either manually or automatically. After the score is received by the score entry engine 104, a standing points engine 106 determines the standing points to be awarded based on a standard points scheme.

The scoring system 100 uses scores entered into the score entry engine 104, typically scores for two or more competitors, and determines which score is “winning” and which is “losing” based on predefined wining/losing criteria 108. As non-limiting examples, in baseball, basketball, football, soccer, volleyball, tennis, bowling, and other events or games, the competitor that has obtained more points is the “winning” competitor. In other games or events, such as golf, the competitor with the lowest score is the “winning” competitor.

After determining which score is “winning” or “losing” 106, the standing points engine 108 applies the standing point scheme to generate the standing points award 110. The standing points engine 108 may comprise an algorithm configured in accordance with the standing points scheme.

In some embodiments, the scoring system 100 includes a wagering engine 112. The wagering engine 112 receives inputs from at least one user as to which team will achieve a greater or lesser standing points score at a predetermined time and/or at the end of the game or event. The wagering engine 112 optionally may receive wagers from at least one user.

The system may optionally include a mechanism for publishing the standing points awarded 114. The mechanism for publishing the standing points awarded 114 may be a scoreboard or code for transmitting an e-mail, text message, phone call and the like, and/or combinations thereof. In some embodiments, the mechanism for publishing the standing points score may be code for displaying the standing points award on a website.

Scoreboards often are used to keep spectators apprised of the score of the event or game. As shown in FIGS. 2-6, a scoreboard 11 includes conventional first and second displays 13 and 15 for displaying the total accumulated competitors' scores for an event or game. In these figures, there are two competitors, identified as “HOME” and “VISITOR.” The scoreboard 11 in the figures depicts a scoreboard for a basketball game, and it is understood that the description herein is not limited to basketball scoreboards. In some embodiments, as shown in FIGS. 2-6, the scoreboard 11 also includes a second set of displays 17 and 19 for displaying the home team and visitor team scores accumulated during the individual quarters of the game. The scoreboard also includes conventional means 21 for indicating the current quarter.

FIG. 3 shows the appearance of scoreboard 11 at the end of the first quarter, with a score of 26-20 in favor of the home team. Note that displays 13 and 17 display the same score (“26”) as do displays 15 and 19 (“20”) at the end of the first period. In accordance with some embodiments, the home team is awarded a number of standing points for accumulating the greater score during the first quarter.

At the end of the first quarter, the scores received by the home and visitor teams are entered into the score entry engine 104 shown in FIG. 1. The entry of the scores into the score entry engine 104 may occur manually or automatically.

FIG. 4 shows the appearance of the scoreboard 11 at the end of the second quarter, with a score of 48-50 in favor of the visiting team. Displays 13 and 17 no longer display the same score. Display 13 displays the total accumulated score for the game (“48”) while display 17 displays the accumulated home team score for the second quarter (“22”). Likewise, displays 15 and 19 display different visitor team scores—display 15 displaying the total accumulated score for the game (“50”) while display 19 displays the accumulated visitor team score for the second quarter (“30”). In some embodiments, the visiting team is awarded a number of standing points for accumulating the greater score during the second quarter.

At the end of the third quarter, as shown in FIG. 5, scoreboard 11 displays the total accumulated scores for the game (“80” to “80”) in displays 13 and 15, and displays the scores accumulated in the third quarter (“32” to “30” in favor of the home team) in displays 17 and 19. Although the game is tied at this point, in some embodiments, the home team is awarded a number of standing points since the home team accumulated the greater score during the third quarter.

Similarly, FIG. 6 illustrates the situation at the end of the fourth quarter (which is also the end of the game). The home team has accumulated 100 points for the entire game while the visiting team has accumulated 99 points. According to some embodiments, the home team is awarded a number of standing points for the quarter because it outscored the visiting team “20” to “19” during the fourth quarter. In some embodiments, the home team also is awarded a number of standing points for accumulating the higher score during the entire game.

Some of the examples herein are directed to events or games that have four periods or quarters. Using the non-limiting example of football and taking the halves as the predetermined times for assigned standing points, a standing points scheme may be “1, 1, 2” (or any other combination that provides more standing points for the winner of the game). Of course, if the halves were assigned standing points with different values or if it were deemed desirable to award more standing points to a team that did not win the game, many more schemes could be considered, and one skilled in the art will be able to determine appropriate schemes based on the teachings herein and the goals to be attained.

The embodiments described herein are particularly useful in providing incentive for the players of an athletic event or game to vigorously compete during each period, which may result in or contribute to increasing concession sales at the event or game. In addition, they facilitate the relative ranking of competitors in a league. For example, the standing points for each event or game may be added together for all of the events or games played or participated in by a competitor and that sum may be compared to the corresponding sums of standing points for other competitors in the league to determine relative rankings of the competitors in the league. In some embodiments, the standing points for each event or game may be used to determine which competitors are eligible or which competitors will participate in the playoffs, in what order they will be grouped (e.g., highest to lowest place amongst the playoff competitors), and which competitors will be matched up to compete; the standing points also may be used to determine “home” and “away” (or “visitor”) designations.

In some embodiments, the standing points awarded to competitors prior to the playoffs may be used solely to determine which competitors will participate in the playoffs. In some embodiments, the standing points awarded to competitors may be used in conjunction with the regular, or usual, method of determining which competitors participate in the playoffs. In some embodiments, the standing points awarded to competitors may have no effect on determining which competitors will participate in the playoffs. FIG. 7 illustrates an exemplary system, such as a computer system, on which the methodology described herein can be utilized. One suitable computer system upon which the method may be implemented is shown at 200. Computer system 200 includes a bus 202 or other communication mechanism for communicating information, and a processor 204 coupled with bus 202 for processing information. Computer system 200 also includes a main memory 206, such as a random access memory (RAM) or other dynamic storage device, coupled to bus 202 for storing information and instructions to be executed by processor 204. Main memory 206 also may be used for storing temporary variable or other intermediate information during execution of instructions to be executed by processor 204. Computer system 200 further includes a read only memory (ROM) 208 or other static storage device coupled to bus 202 for storing static information and instructions for processor 204. A storage device 210, such as a magnetic disk or optical disk, is provided and coupled to bus 202 for storing information and instructions.

Computer system 200 may be coupled via bus 202 to a display 212, such as a cathode ray tube (CRT), for displaying information to a computer user. An input device 214, which may include alphanumeric and other keys, is coupled to bus 202 for communicating information and command selections to processor 204. Another type of user input device is cursor control 216, such as a mouse, a trackball, or cursor direction keys for communicating direction information and command selections to processor 204 and for controlling cursor movement on display 212. This input device typically has two degrees of freedom in two axes, a first axis (e.g., x) and a second axis (e.g. y), that allows the device to specify positions in a plane.

According to one embodiment, computer system 200 operates in response to processor 204 executing one or more sequences of one or more instructions contained in main memory 206. Such instructions may be read into main memory 206 from another computer-readable medium, such as storage device 210. Execution of the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 206 causes processor 204 to perform the process steps described herein. One or more processors in a multi-processing arrangement may also be employed to execute the sequences of instructions contained in main memory 206. In alternative embodiments, hard-wired circuitry may be used in place of or in combination with software instructions to implement the methodology. Thus, practicing the methodology are not limited to any specific combination of hardware circuitry and software, and the description here and below is understood to be an exemplary embodiment of a system of the invention.

A software application containing coding for implementing the process described herein can be stored or reside in any suitable computer-readable medium. The term “computer-readable medium” as used herein refers to any medium that participates in providing instructions to processor 204 for execution. Such a medium may take many forms, including, but not limited to, non-volatile media, volatile media, and transmission media. Non-volatile media include, for example, optical or magnetic disks, such as storage device 210. Volatile media include dynamic memory, such as main memory 206. Transmission media include coaxial cables, copper wire, and fiber optics, including the wires that comprise bus 202. Transmission media can also take the form of acoustic or light waves, such as those generated during radio frequency (RF) and infrared (IR) data communications. Common forms of computer-readable media include, for example, floppy disk, a flexible disk, hard disk, magnetic tape, and other magnetic medium, a CD-ROM, DVD, any other optical medium, punch cards, paper tape, any other physical medium with patterns of holes, a RAM, a PROM, an EPROM, a FLASHEPROM, any other memory chip or cartridge, a carrier wave as described hereinafter, or any other medium from which a computer can read.

Various forms of computer-readable media may be involved in carrying one or more sequences of one or more instructions to processor 204 for execution. For example, the instructions may initially be borne on a magnetic disk of a remote computer. The remote computer can load the instructions into its dynamic memory and send the instructions over a telephone line using a modem. A modem local to computer system 200 can receive the data on the telephone line and use an infrared transmitter to convert the data to an infrared signal. An infrared detector coupled to bus 202 can receive the data carried in the infrared signal and place the data on bus 202. Bus 202 carries the data to main memory 206, from which processor 204 retrieves and executes the instructions. The instructions received by main memory 206 may optionally be stored on storage device 210 either before or after execution by processor 204.

Computer system 200 also includes a communication interface 218 coupled to bus 202. Communication interface 218 provides a two-way data communication coupling to a network link 220 that is connected to a local network 222. For example, communication interface 218 may be an integrated services digital network (ISDN) card or a modem to provide a data communication connection to a corresponding type of telephone line. As another example, communication interface 218 may be a local area network (LAN) card to provide a data communication connection to a compatible LAN. Wireless links may also be implemented. In any such implementation, communication interface 218 sends and receives electrical, electromagnetic, or optical signals that carry digital data streams representing various type of information.

Network link 220 typically provides data communication through one or more networks to other data devices. For example, network link 220 may provide a connection through local network 222 to a host computer 224 or to data equipment operated by an Internet Service Provider (ISP) 226. ISP 226 in turn provides data communication services through the worldwide packet data communication network, now commonly referred to as the “Internet” 228. Local network 222 and Internet 228 both use electrical, electromagnetic, or optical signals that carry digital data streams. The signals through the various networks and the signals on network line 220 and through communication interface 218, which carry the digital data to and from computer system 200, are exemplary forms of carrier waves transporting the information.

Computer system 200 can send messages and receive data, including program codes, through the network(s), network line 220, and communication interface 218. In the Internet example, a server 230 might transmit a requested code for an application program through Internet 228, ISP 226, local network 222, and communication interface 218.

The received code may be executed by processor 204 as it is received, and/or stored in storage device 210, or other non-volatile storage for later execution. In this manner, computer system 200 may obtain an application code in the form of a carrier wave.

It is understood that the above described computer system has been presented for the purposes of illustration and description only, and any number of alternative computer based implementations can be readily devised by one of ordinary skill in the art, and are suitable for practicing and implementing the invention.

A number of embodiments have been described. Nevertheless, it will be understood that various modifications may be made without departing from the spirit and scope of the embodiments. For example, although standing points has been characterized as having numerical values, graphics may be used in addition to or in lieu of the numerical values. If graphics are used, a predetermined scale as to each graphic's value may be implemented so that if different graphics are used, the sum of each team's standing points may be calculated to determine their final standing points scores. As another example, many of the examples herein pertained to events or games that have four quarters or periods. Standing points schemes may be created to be used with less than or more than four quarters or periods, and need not be limited to events or games that have quarters or periods. Likewise, predetermined times and the number of predetermined times to be used for awarding standing points need not be limited to events or games that have quarters or periods, and there may be more or less than four predetermined times used for awarding standing points. As yet another example, in many sports, a scoreboard is used to keep track of the score of a game. Although various embodiments were described in reference to the scoreboard 11, scoreboards having displays 17 and 19 are not required. Accordingly, other embodiments are within the scope of the following claims.