From what I can see, the following sports require that there has to be a winner/loser (draws aren't possible due to some continuation rule that leads to a winning result):

  • Basketball
  • Baseball
  • American Football
  • Tennis
  • Cricket
  • Darts

Can some who's more familiar with any of these sports confirm or correct this impression?

  • American football has ties even though you don’t see them often. Also just because there is an overtime or multiple games doesn’t mean their can’t be ties or draws.
    – Joe W
    Nov 27, 2017 at 23:34
  • @JoeW Thanks - of all of my list, American Football I was the most doubtful of. When I say 'best of 3' I'm thinking of the likes of tennis whereby it's the first to a certain number of sets which would be played out one a particular night and is considered on stage (like a semi-final of a competition) as opposed to something like a series in in the NBA finals where each would be considered a game in their own right (if that makes sense?) On any given night you were to go to a basketball game for example, there will always be a winner/loser - right?
    – Jeremy
    Nov 27, 2017 at 23:52
  • There is no difference between a best of 3 in table tennis and basketball. In both cases if the current game won't end because of the score it does not matter how many more games there are in the series.
    – Joe W
    Nov 27, 2017 at 23:57
  • I would also point out that the reason you don't see ties in baseball and basketball is that for some reason the American sports fan hates ties.
    – Joe W
    Nov 27, 2017 at 23:58
  • @JoeW I get that, but that would mean that each individual game has to have a winner/loser outcome - to put it another way, in a 5-game series that goes down to the last game it'll be because they're both won 2 games each rather then 1 game each and 2 drawn games (or 4 drawn games)
    – Jeremy
    Nov 28, 2017 at 0:00

1 Answer 1


Barring force majeure (police emergencies, building unsafe, etc) of your list:

  1. Basketball: always has a result. As many overtime periods as necessary are played, at least under NBA and FIBA rules.
  2. Baseball: just about always has a result. As many extra innings as necessary are played - the only exception in MLB is if weather interrupts a game at the end of the season with no playoff implications in which case they may never finish the game.
  3. American football: NFL regular season matches have only one 15 minute sort-of sudden death overtime period. NFL playoff matches continue indefinitely.
  4. Tennis: always has a result, via a tie-breaker in most tournaments, but three of the four Grand Slams play "2 games clear" in the final set; in the most extreme case, 138 games were played in the final set.
  5. Cricket: Limited overs can result in a tie (or a no result if an insufficient number of overs are bowled); the tie is sometimes broken via a "super over", but not in all cases. Timed matches can result in either a draw or a tie.
  6. Darts - I think always has a result, but I'm not that au fait with the various competitions.
  • WBSC rules allow for a tie when the game is called by the umpire and it is a regulation game (rule 7.01.a). A tied game remains a draw under these circumstances, unless a result is otherwise required for competition purposes.
    – Nij
    Nov 28, 2017 at 0:42
  • MLB Baseball also allows ties for All-Star games, admittedly a special circumstance though.
    – JW8
    Nov 28, 2017 at 4:10

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