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What is a sports equinox? Explaining the history of NFL, NBA, MLB and NHL games being played on the same day – CBS Sports


Every so often we get hit with a sports day that leaves us with difficult choices and an overwhelming number of games to keep up with. I’m talking about the sports equinox, a day in which all four major men’s sports leagues are in action.

Lucky of all of us, that is taking place today, Thursday, Oct. 21 Tonight, the NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA all have games taking place. There will be no shortage of action to tune into. As a bonus, we also have PGA Tour action, four college football games and a women’s soccer game tonight.

What a time to be alive.

The sports equinox is not an occurrence that takes place often, so let’s dive in deeper on what it means, how often it takes place and which teams are playing tonight.

What leagues are involved?

A sports equinox takes place when NFL, MLB, NHL and NBA games are all on in the same day.

Which teams play tonight?


  • NLCS Game 5: Braves vs. Dodgers, 8:08 p.m.


  • Broncos vs. Browns, 8:20 p.m.


  • Avalanche vs. Panthers, 7 p.m.
  • Capitals vs. Devils, 7 p.m.
  • Hurricanes vs. Canadiens, 7 p.m.
  • Sharks vs. Senators, 7 p.m.
  • Islanders vs. Blue Jackets, 7 p.m.
  • Flames vs. Red Wings, 7:30 p.m.
  • Rangers vs. Predators, 8 p.m.
  • Ducks vs. Jets, 8 p.m.
  • Canucks vs. Blackhawks, 8:30 p.m.
  • Oilers vs. Coyotes, 10 p.m.


  • Mavericks vs. Hawks, 7:30 p.m.
  • Bucks vs. Heat, 8 p.m.
  • Clippers vs. Warriors, 10 p.m.

How often does the sports equinox occur?

Oct. 21 is the first sports equinox of 2021 and the 25th such day since 1971. The rare sports day typically occurs in the fall, because the NFL, NBA and NHL are all in their regular season and the MLB playoffs are occurring.

Fun sports equinox facts

  • Arizona had a sports equinox of their own when the state was represented in all four major men’s sports games in the same day. They are the only state to have all four teams play on the same day
  • In 2016, a wild 27 games were played, the most ever on a sports equinox
  • Last year, with all the changes we got due to the coronavirus pandemic, sports fans got a “Super Sports Equinox.” The NFL, MLB, NBA, WNBA, MLS, Tennis and NHL all played on the same day for the first time ever on Sept. 10, 2020