Winning percentage

In sports, a winning percentage is the fraction of games or matches a team or individual has won. It is defined as wins divided by the total number of matches played (i.e. wins plus draws plus losses). A draw counts as a ½ win.

For example, if a team's season record is 30 wins and 20 losses, the winning percentage would be .600. If a team's season record is 30–15–5 (i.e. it has won thirty games, lost fifteen and tied five times), the five tie games are counted as 2½ wins, and so the team has an adjusted record of 32½ wins, resulting in a .650 winning percentage for the fifty total games from

In leagues in which points are awarded for overtime losses, it is possible for a team to have a winning percentage above .500 (50%) despite losing more than half of the games it has played.

Winning percentage is one way to compare the record of two teams; however, another standard method most frequently used in baseball and professional basketball standings is games behind. In baseball, a pitcher is assessed wins and losses as an individual statistic and thus has his own winning percentage, based on his win–loss record.

In North America, winning percentages are expressed to three digits and read as whole numbers (e.g. 1.000, "a thousand" or .500, "five hundred"). In this case, the name "winning percentage" is actually a misnomer, since it is not expressed as a percentage. A winning percentage such as .536 ("five thirty-six") expressed as a percentage would be 53.6%.

However, in soccer, a manager's abilities may be measured by win percentage. In this case, the formula is wins divided by total number of matches; draws are not considered as "half-wins", and the quotient is always in percentage form.

To this day in the National Football League, division winners and playoff qualifiers are technically determined by winning percentage and not by number of wins. Ties are currently counted as half a win and half a loss, however, prior to 1972 ties did not count for the purposes of this calculation. So, for example, one team finished 11-3 and another 10-2-2, there would have been no tiebreaker - the team with two ties would have been deemed the outright division winner. This made tie games (a fairly common occurrence in football before overtime was introduced) somewhat more valuable to teams compared to the half-win they are considered today.

Some leagues and competitions may instead use a points percentage system, changing the nature of this statistic. In this type of method, used in many group tournament ranking systems, the competitors are awarded a certain number of points per win, fewer points per tie, and none for a loss. The teams are then ranked by the total number of these accumulated points. One such method is the "three points for a win", where three points are awarded for winning a game, one point is awarded for a draw, and no points are awarded for a loss. The National Hockey League (which uses an overtime and shootouts to break all ties) awards two points for a win in regulation or overtime/shootout, one point for an overtime loss, and none for a regulation loss.[1][2]


Major League Baseball

Win % Wins Losses Year Team Comment
.79867171882Chicago White Stockingsbest pre-modern season
.763116361906Chicago Cubsbest 154-game NL season
.721111431954Cleveland Indiansbest 154-game AL season
.716116462001Seattle Marinersbest 162-game AL season
.667108541975Cincinnati Redsbest 162-game NL season
.250401201962New York Metsworst 162-game NL season (2 games rained out)
.265431192003Detroit Tigersworst 162-game AL season
.248381151935Boston Bravesworst 154-game NL season
.235361171916Philadelphia Athleticsworst 154-game AL season
.130201341899Cleveland Spidersworst season ever

National Basketball Association

Win % Wins Losses Season Team Comment
.8907392015–16Golden State Warriorsbest 82 game season
.1109731972–73Philadelphia 76ersworst 82-game season
.1067592011–12Charlotte Bobcatsworst season statistically

National Hockey League

In the National Hockey League, teams are awarded two points for a win, and one point for either a tie (a discontinued statistic) or an overtime loss. It can be calculated as follows:

Points % Wins Losses Ties Points Season Team Comments
.825608121321976–77Montreal Canadiensbest points % in post-expansion NHL
.1318675211974–75Washington Capitalsworst points % in post-expansion NHL

See also


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