Bracket Formats

The R2sports event management software supports multiple draw type formats

Brackets that can be used for tournaments, leagues, and seasons include:

Elimination Brackets with consolation options supporting up to 256 participants, Round Robins with different display options up to 16 competitors, Pool Play divisions up to 160 competitors in 10 different groups, and Heats with up to 200 competitors.

R2sports Screen Shots: Elimination Brackets

Single Elimination Brackets


Single elimination brackets are draw formats where the winner of each match advances to the next round, and the loser is eliminated from winning the championship or first place in the division.

The round in a single elimination bracket refers to how far the competitor has advanced in the draw. People refer to each round by its power of two. In larger draws for example, the round with 64 players remaining is called the round of 64, or 64ís. The next round with 32 participants remaining in the bracket is called the round of 32, or 32ís. The round in which 16 remain is the round of 16, or sweet 16. When only 8 teams remain, it is most commonly known as the Quarter finals, or the quarters. Winners from that round move the semis, where only 4 competitors remain. The two winners face off in the final round sometimes called the finals or championship match.

Single elimination brackets often have a 3rd place playoff, where the 2 semi final losers compete for 3rd place. Tournaments that are limited in time may choose not to play the 3rd place match and award 3rd to both losers of the semi finals.

In a single elimination bracket where the number of players isnít a power of two, some participants receive a bye in the first round. A Bye allows them to advance into the next round without having to play and risk being knocked out of competition.


Seeding is extremely important with single elimination brackets and could change the outcome of the final standings. A badly seeded draw could have the top two competitors in a division meet in the first round. The second best competitor who should have gotten second would be out of the tournament.

Byes are usually determined by a playerís seeding, with the highest ranked players getting the bye as a reward for their previous performance. Some pro events can have multiple rounds of byes where the lower ranked players have to win several matches before facing a ranked opponent. A qualifier draw can also be used to accomplish the same thing.

Seeding single elimination brackets based on a ranking is often viewed as the fairest way to ensure that the better teams play weaker teams in the early rounds, then better teams match-up in later rounds to determine the champion.

The most common way to seed has the very best playing the very worst participant, then the second best player playing the second worst player, etc. So in a single elimination brackets with 8 participants: seed 1 vs. seed 8, seed 2 vs. seed 7, seed 3 vs. seed 6, and seed 4 vs. seed 5. Some tournaments choose to customize the seeding to create different matchups in later rounds to avoid the same players competing in subsequent events in sports where rankings change more slowly

A single elimination bracket can have a consolation bracket where players drop into after losing.

Advantages:

Single elimination brackets allow a large number of participants to compete with no dead matches that donít count. Every match matters or you are out of the competition.

Disadvantages:

In sports where a draw or tie can take place, single elimination brackets are not ideal because a playoff must take place to determine who advances.

As opposed to round robin tournament brackets, after each round, half of the competitors remaining are eliminated, so most participants have few games compared to the winners who keep advancing and playing more. Someone traveling a long ways to a tournament may not be very happy to play one and be out.

Some also view it as unfair to award second place to the loser of the finals match because the losers of the semi finals never got a chance to play them.

When discretionary seeding as used that doesnít follow a ranking system, how the tournament director seeds the draw can have significant influence on the final result. This often leads to competitors complaining with claims of it being unfair unless a ranking system is followed.