How to Read an Electronic Wireless Basketball Scoreboard

How to Read an Electronic Basketball Scoreboard

Millions of people worldwide play and watch basketball, making it one of the most popular sports. While watching a basketball game, one of the most essential elements for keeping track of the game is the scoreboard.

A basketball scoreboard displays the score, time remaining, team fouls, shot clock, and timeouts. Understanding how to read a basketball scoreboard is crucial for fans, players, coaches, and officials alike. In this blog, we will discuss the various types of scores, key terms, and important information displayed on a basketball scoreboard.

basketball scoreboard displaying score, shot clock, and time remaining in the sports game



Types of Scores

In basketball, there are two types of scores: field goals and free throws.


Field Goals

basketball three point line on an outdoor basketball court
The photo above shows the three-point line arc on an outdoor basketball court.

A field goal is a shot made from the floor that goes through the hoop. A field goal is worth two points if the shot was made inside the three-point line, and three points if the shot was made outside of the three-point line. The three-point line is the arc that extends from the baseline and wraps around the court in front of the bench areas.

The distance of the three-point line varies depending on the level of play. In college and professional basketball, the three-point line is 22’ feet and 23’ 9”, respectively.


Free Throws

basketball free throw line

A free throw is an uncontested shot taken from the free-throw line. Free throws are awarded to a team when the opposing team commits a foul.

Each free throw is worth one point, and a player has 10 seconds to shoot the ball. If a player is fouled while attempting a three-point shot and makes the shot, they are awarded one free throw for a possible four-point play.



Key Terms

Understanding these key terms in basketball that are displayed on a digital basketball scoreboard is crucial for any fan of the sport. Here are some key terms that you’ll see displayed on your basketball scoreboard.



The score is the most crucial, and therefore largest, piece of information displayed on an electronic basketball scoreboard. It displays the number of points each team has scored, and it goes without saying that the team with the higher score at the end of the game wins.



Basketball games are divided into four quarters or two halves, depending on the level of play. In college and professional basketball, games are divided into four 10-minute quarters, while high school games are divided into four eight-minute quarters. The period/quarter display shows which quarter or half is being played.


Time Remaining

The time remaining is displayed in minutes and seconds and shows how much time is left in the period/quarter or game. The shot clock will display how much time a player has to make a throw.



The possession arrow indicates which team has the next possession of the ball. The possession arrow alternates between the teams after each jump ball situation, and is typically displayed on the an electric basketball scoreboard.



Fouls are violations committed by a player that results in the opposing team being awarded free throws or possession of the ball. The number of fouls committed by each team is also displayed on the digital basketball scoreboard.


Team Timeouts

Each team is allotted a certain number of timeouts during the game. A timeout is called by the coach to stop the clock, make substitutions, or discuss strategy with the team. The number of timeouts each team has left is displayed on the scoreboard.



When a team commits a certain number of fouls in a period/quarter, the opposing team is awarded free throws for every subsequent foul. This is called being in the bonus. The bonus is displayed on the scoreboard, and the number of free throws awarded to the opposing team increases as the number of fouls increases.



Other Important Information Displayed on the Scoreboard

The scoreboard displays important information about the game that can help fans and players keep track of the game's progress


Team Names and Logos

Input Custom Basketball Team Names

The scoreboard displays the names and logos of the two teams playing. This helps fans identify which teams are playing, especially if they are unfamiliar with the players.


Timeout Indicators

The timeout indicators on the scoreboard display whether a timeout is a full timeout or a 30-second timeout. Full timeouts last for 60 seconds, while 30-second timeouts last for 30 seconds. Coaches have the option of calling one full timeout and one 30-second timeout per half.

Player Fouls

The scoreboard displays the number of fouls committed by each player. If a player commits too many fouls, they may be disqualified from the game.


Shot Clock

The shot clock displays the amount of time a team has to shoot the ball. In college and professional basketball, the shot clock is 35 seconds. If a team fails to shoot the ball before the shot clock expires, they lose possession of the ball.




In conclusion, reading a basketball scoreboard is an essential skill for fans, players, coaches, and officials alike in order to fully understand the progress of a game. It allows fans to keep track of the score, players to understand the game's situation, coaches to make strategic decisions, and officials to ensure fair play.

By understanding the different types of scores, key terms, and important information displayed on a basketball scoreboard, fans can enjoy the game to its fullest. So the next time you watch a basketball game, keep an eye on the scoreboard, and you'll be able to follow the game like a pro!

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