The U.S. National Football League Scheduling Problem

Bistra N. Dilkina and William S. Havens

We describe the problem of scheduling the television broadcasts of the U.S. National Football League (NFL).Unlike traditional round-robin tournament scheduling, the NFL problem involves assigning games to broadcast slots under various complex constraints while attempting to satisfy a set of user preferences. As well, a mixed-initiative functionality was required to allow the user to control and assist in the scheduling process. A prototype system was developed for the NFL which produced schedules satisfying many of these constraints and preferences. In this paper, we provide an overview of the constraint solving methodology employed and the implementation of the NFL prototype system.

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