Most sports I know of (e.g. soccer) will mention the home team first; e.g. if Barcelona plays Real Madrid in Barcelona, the scoreboard will show

Barcelona - Real Madrid   1 - 0

both in the stadium (where the home team is often displayed above the away team) and on television, at one of the edges of the screen.

However, in my (limited) experience of watching NBA, I have often (maybe even always?) seen the away team mentioned first. Most recent example on Dutch television: a summary of Milwaukee Bucks - Golden State Warriors, played in Milwaukee; the scoreboard at the bottom (provided by ESPN) showed GS - MIL, where I expected it would be the other way around. What logic is used to determine which team is mentioned first in the score in NBA games?

1 Answer 1


The American convention is that the away team is first - you can think of this as "Golden State at Milwaukee". This convention extends to how the fixtures are listed; for example, picking today's schedule from the official NBA site:

NBA schedule for 2018-01-14

you can see that the fixtures are all listed as "away team (at) home team" (the times listed there are funny because I'm in the UK, so the site has listed UK times). The same certainly applies to the rest of the "Big Four" sports in the USA (NFL, MLB, NHL) and to the college variants of those sports, but I note that the MLS site follows the "European" convention and lists the home team first.

The "away team first" convention is widely attributed (see e.g. 1, 2, 3) as being due to baseball, where the away team always bats first and the home team second - thus it makes some sense to list the away team first, particularly given the "top of the innings" and "bottom of the innings" names. Other sports are reported as having simply followed baseball's convention.


Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge that you have read and understand our privacy policy and code of conduct.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.