Club sports, also known as recreational team sports, are prevalent in the metropolitan areas of United States nowadays. However, there is a key concern for organizers, which is how to reduce the time that players spend driving to and from matches while keeping league divisions competitive. We adopt a three-step approach to solve this problem. Initially, we analyze the drive time data between clubs’ locations to determine the geographic regions for the league. And then, clubs are assigned to divisions based on their rankings within in the league as well as their home facilities’ geographic regions. Finally, divisions are further subdivided to minimize the drive time. Alternatively, we present another two solutions using an integrated model as well as a heuristic. The integrated model focuses on optimizing competitiveness while keeping drive time as a constraint, and the heuristic attempts to improve the drive time while preserving competitiveness. Applying any of the three methods to the game planning to the Tennis Competitors of Dallas, a large and well-established sports league in Texas, USA, we demonstrate that all processes can rearrange the existing divisions in a way that not only shortens the drive time for players, but also maintains an acceptable level of competition.
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Chen, Zhuo, "Optimization of Drive Time and Competitiveness in Sports League Design" (2022). Operations Research and Engineering Management Theses and Dissertations. 17.