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What Sport Has the Longest Season in the World?

what sport has the longest season in the world

When it comes to sports, the duration of the season can significantly impact both athletes and fans. From early training sessions to the final competition, the length of a sport’s season varies widely across different disciplines. For this comparison, we’ll focus on two popular sports leagues—the NHL (National Hockey League) and MLB (Major League Baseball)—and evaluate which has the most extended season. We’ll use metrics such as start-to-finishstart-to-finish dates, number of matches, and off-season duration.

Defining a Sport’sSport’s Season

For this comparison, a sport’s season is defined from the start of training to the final competition. This includes both the regular season and any playoff games or series.

Winter Sports vs. Summer Sports

We’ll compare winter and summer sports, focusing on the NHL and MLB. These two leagues offer a fascinating look into how different sports manage their seasons globally.

NHL Season Length

  • Start: Early October
  • End: Playoffs often extend into June
  • Duration: Approximately 8 to 9 months including playoffs
  • Number of Matches: 82 regular season games per team, plus potentially up to 28 playoff games
  • Off-Season Duration: Approximately 3 to 4 months

MLB Season Length

  • Start: Late March or early April
  • End: The regular season finishes by the end of September, and playoffs extend into October
  • Duration: Approximately 7 to 8 months, including playoffs
  • Number of Matches: 162 regular season games per team, plus up to 20 playoff games
  • Off-Season Duration: Approximately 4 to 5 months

Comparing Metrics

Start to Finish

The NHL and MLB have lengthy seasons, but the NHL generally starts a bit later and finishes later in the year compared to the MLB. While the NHL season runs from October to June, the MLB season spans from late March/early April to October.

Number of Matches

The MLB significantly surpasses the NHL in terms of the number of matches. With 162 regular season games per team compared to the NHL’s and NHL’s 82, plus additional playoff games, MLB players spend more time in competition throughout the season.

Off-Season Duration

The NHL’s off-season is typically 3 to 4 months, while the MLB enjoys a slightly longer break of 4 to 5 months. This extended off-season allows MLB players to recover and prepare before the next season begins.


Which sport has the most extended season overall?

Based on the start-to-finish metrics, the NHL tends to have a slightly longer season, running from early October to June. However, considering the number of matches played, the MLB has a more extensive schedule, with 162 regular season games compared to the NHL’s 82.

How do playoff games affect season length?

Playoff games significantly extend the season length for both sports. In the NHL, teams can play up to an additional 28 games during the playoffs, while in the MLB, teams can compete in up to 20 extra games. This can add as much as two months to the season duration in both leagues.

Why does the MLB have more regular season games than the NHL?

The difference in the number of games primarily stems from the nature of the sports. Baseball is a sport where games can be played almost daily without the physical exertion that ice hockey demands. As a result, MLB teams can play 162 regular season games, while NHL teams, which require more recovery time between games, play 82.

How does the off-season duration impact players?

The off-season is crucial for athletes as it allows time for recovery, training, and preparation for the upcoming season. The NHL’s off-season is approximately 3 to 4 months, while the MLB’s off-season is slightly longer at 4 to 5 months. This extra time in the MLB can help players recuperate from the highly demanding season.

Which league has a more intense schedule?

While both leagues have rigorous schedules, the MLB season is more intense regarding the number of games played. However, due to the nature of ice hockey, the physical intensity of each NHL game is typically higher, making the NHL schedule demanding in different ways.


Given the metrics evaluated, MLB has the most extended season in terms of the number of matches played. However, the NHL season spans a more significant portion of the calendar year from start to finish.

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