The major motivations behind match fixing are gambling and future team advantage.
 Agreements with gamblersThere may be financial gain through agreements with gamblers.
 Getting a better draft pickIn the NHL, NBA and Australian Football League, teams near the bottom of the standings have sometimes been accused of tanking games at the end of the season to finish with the worst record in the league — thereby gaining the first draft pick. (For example, there were accusations that in 1993 the Ottawa Senators intentionally tanked games in order to draft Alexandre Daigle.) To deter this behavior, these leagues now use a draft lottery which does not guarantee the first pick to the team at the bottom of the standings. Other leagues such as the Australian Football League and the NFL do not make use of a lottery, which leads to suspicions of match fixing, especially since top draft picks can have top careers. Like the NFL, MLB does not conduct a draft lottery, but credible allegations of tanking in the MLB are uncommon due to the historically weak correlation between draft order and major-league success.
 Better playoff chancesIn the NBA (but not in the NHL, which re-seeds teams after the first playoff round), there have also been allegations of teams tanking games in order to finish in sixth rather than fifth place in the conference standings, thus enabling the team in question to evade a possible playoff match with the conference's top seed until the final round of playoffs in that conference (for more details see single-elimination tournament). For example, the 2006 Los Angeles Clippers allegedly tanked late season games so they could finish with the 6th seed and play the 8th-ranked team in the league's Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets, who were the 3rd seed by way of winning their division. Another quirk in the league's playoff system gave the Clippers even more of an incentive to tank. The NBA is the only one of the four major professional sports leagues of the United States in which home advantage in the playoffs is based strictly on regular-season record without regard to seeding. If the Clippers had finished with the 5th seed in the West, they would have had to face the Dallas Mavericks, who despite being the 4th seed had the second-best record in the conference, which would give the Mavericks home advantage. However, the Clippers would have home advantage in a series against the Nuggets by virtue of a better overall record. If tanking was indeed their strategy, it worked, as the Clippers easily won their first round series. Following the 2006 season, the NBA changed its playoff format so that the best second-place team in each conference would be able to obtain up to the #2 seed should it have the second-best conference record. On occasion, an NFL team has also been accused of throwing its final regular-season game in an attempt to "choose" its possible opponent in the subsequent playoffs. For example, in the closing game of the 2004 season, the Indianapolis Colts faced the Denver Broncos. With a win, the Broncos would advance to the playoffs as a wild card and face the Colts as their first round playoff opponent. It would seem the Colts had little incentive to win as their loss would ensure that they would play a team they dominated in the 2003 Wild Card game. Sure enough, the Colts rested their starters, lost the game, and went on to blow out the Broncos the following week in the playoffs.
Perhaps the most notable example of this was when the San Francisco 49ers, who had clinched a playoff berth, lost their regular-season finale in 1988 to the Los Angeles Rams, thereby keeping the New York Giants (who had defeated the 49ers in the playoffs in both 1985 and 1986, also injuring 49er quarterback Joe Montana in the latter year's game) from qualifying for the postseason; after the game, Giants quarterback Phil Simms angrily accused the 49ers of "laying down like dogs."
A more recent example of possible tanking occurred in the ice hockey competition at the 2006 Winter Olympics. In Pool B, Sweden was to face Slovakia in the last pool match for both teams. Sweden coach Bengt-Åke Gustafsson publicly contemplated tanking against Slovakia, knowing that if his team won, their quarterfinal opponent would either be Canada, the 2002 gold medalists, or the Czech Republic, 1998 gold medalists. Gustafsson would tell Swedish television "One is cholera, the other the plague." Sweden lost the match 3-0; the most obvious sign of tanking was when Sweden had a five-on-three power play with five NHL stars—Peter Forsberg, Mats Sundin, Daniel Alfredsson, Nicklas Lidstrom, and Fredrik Modin—on the ice, and failed to put a shot on goal. (Sports Illustrated writer Michael Farber would say about this particular powerplay, "If the Swedes had passed the puck any more, their next opponent would have been the Washington Generals.") If he was seeking to tank, Gustafsson got his wish; Sweden would face a much less formidable quarterfinal opponent in Switzerland. Canada would lose to Russia in a quarterfinal in the opposite bracket, while Sweden went on to win the gold medal, defeating the Czechs in the semifinals.
 More favorable schedule next yearNFL teams have been accused of throwing games in order to obtain a more favorable schedule the following season; this was especially true between 1977 and 1993, when a team finishing last in a five-team division would get to play five of its eight non-division matches the next season against other last-place teams.
 Match fixing by refereesIn addition to the match fixing that is committed by players, coaches and/or team officials, it is not unheard of to have results manipulated by corrupt referees. Since 2004, separate scandals have erupted in prominent sports leagues in Portugal, Germany (Bundesliga scandal), Brazil (Brazilian football match-fixing scandal) and the United States (see Tim Donaghy), all of which concerned referees who fixed matches for gamblers. Many sports writers have speculated that in leagues with high player salaries, it is far more likely for a referee to become corrupt since their pay in such competitions is usually much less than that of the players.
 Match fixing to a draw or a fixed scoreMatch fixing does not necessarily involve deliberately losing a match. Occasionally, teams have been accused of deliberately playing to a draw or a fixed score where this ensures some mutual benefit (e.g. both teams advancing to the next stage of a competition.) One of the earliest examples of this sort of match fixing in the modern era occurred in 1898 when Stoke City and Burnley intentionally drew in that year's final "test match" so as to ensure they were both in the First Division the next season. In response, the Football League expanded the divisions to 18 teams that year, thus permitting the intended victims of the fix (Newcastle United and Blackburn Rovers) to remain in the First Division. The "test match" system was abandoned and replaced with automatic relegation.
A more recent example occurred in the 1982 FIFA World Cup, West Germany played Austria in the last match of group B. A West German victory by 1 or 2 goals would result in both teams advancing; any less and Germany was out; any more and Austria was out (and replaced by Algeria, who had just beaten Chile). West Germany attacked hard and scored after 10 minutes. Afterwards, the players then proceeded to just kick the ball around aimlessly for the remainder of the match. Algerian supporters were so angered that they waved banknotes at the players, while a German fan burned his German flag in disgust. By the second half, the ARD commentator Eberhard Stanjek refused any further comment on the game, while the Austrian television commentator Robert Seeger advised viewers to switch off their sets. As a result, FIFA changed its tournament scheduling for subsequent World Cups so that the final pair of matches in each group are played simultaneously.
 Abuse of tie-breaking rulesOn several occasions, "creative" use of tie-breaking rules have allegedly led teams to play less than their best.
An example occurred in the 2004 European Football Championship. Because unlike FIFA, UEFA takes "head-to-head" play into consideration before overall goal difference when ranking teams level on points, a situation arose in Group C where Sweden and Denmark played to a 2-2 draw, which was a sufficiently high scoreline to eliminate Italy (which had lower-scoring draws with the Swedes and Danes) regardless of Italy's result with already-eliminated Bulgaria. Although Italy beat Bulgaria by only one goal and would hypothetically have been eliminated using the FIFA tie-breaker too, some Italian fans bitterly contended that the FIFA tie-breaker would have motivated their team to play harder and deterred their Scandinavian rivals from, in their view, at the very least half-heartedly playing out the match after the score became 2-2.
But the FIFA tie-breaker, or any goal-differential scheme, can cause problems, too. There have been incidents (especially in basketball) where players on a favored team have won the game but deliberately ensured the quoted point spread was not covered (see point shaving). Conversely, there are cases where a team not only lost (which might be honest) but lost by some large amount, perhaps to ensure a point spread was covered, or to grant some non-gambling related favor to the victor. Perhaps the most famous alleged example was the match between Argentina and Peru in the 1978 FIFA World Cup. Argentina needed a four goal victory to advance over Brazil, an enormous margin at this level of competition, especially since Argentina had a weak offense (6 goals in 5 games) and Peru a stout defence (6 goals allowed in 5 games). Yet somehow, Argentina won 6-0. Much was made over the fact that the Peruvian goalkeeper was born in Argentina, and Peru was dependent on Argentinian grain shipments, but nothing was ever proven.
Although the Denmark-Sweden game above led to calls for UEFA to adopt FIFA's tiebreaking formula for future tournaments, it is not clear if this solves the problem - the Argentina-Peru game shows a possible abuse of the FIFA tie-breaker. Proponents of the UEFA tie-breaker argue that it reduces the value of blow-outs, whether these be the result of a much stronger team running up the score or an already-eliminated side allowing an unusually large number of goals. Perhaps the most infamous incident occurred in December 1983 when Spain, needing to win by eleven goals to qualify for the Euro 1984 ahead of the Netherlands, defeated Malta by a score of 12-1 on the strength of nine second half goals. Especially in international football, such lopsided results are seen as unsavoury, even if they are honest. If anything, these incidents serves as evidence that the FIFA tie-breaker can cause incentives to perpetrate a fix in some circumstances, the UEFA tie-breaker in others.
 Individual performance in team sportsBookmakers in the early 21st century accept bets on a far wider range of sports-related propositions than ever before. Thus, a gambling-motivated fix might not necessarily involve any direct attempt to influence the outright result, especially in team sports where such a fix would require the co-operation (and prerequsitely, the knowledge) of many people, and/or perhaps would be more likely to arouse suspicion. Fixing the result of a more particular proposition might be seen as less likely to be noticed - for example, scandalized former National Basketball Association referee Tim Donaghy has been alleged to have perpetrated some of his fixes by calling games in such a manner as to ensure more points than expected were scored by both teams, thus affecting "over-under" bets on the games whilst also ensuring that Donaghy at least did not look to be outright biased. Also, bets are increasingly being taken on individual performances in team sporting events, although it is currently unlikely that enough is bet on an average player to allow someone to place a substantial wager on them without being noticed.
One such attempt was described by retired footballer Matthew Le Tissier, who in 2009 admitted that while he was playing with Southampton FC back in 1995 he tried (and failed) to kick the ball out of play right after the kick-off of a Premier League match against Wimbledon FC so that a group of associates would collect on a wager made on an early throw-in. Similarly, in 2010 cricket players were accused of committing specific no ball penalties for the benefit of gamblers.