This term is used in many sports, such as football, to describe the series of games that are played prior to the official start of the regular season. In the NFL, each team usually plays four preseason games. These games do not count in the win-loss records of the teams playing; these games are intended as practice for the regular season. Typically, teams play other teams which are geographically close.
The preseason is the time when teams give prospects the opportunity to play in a game in order to evaluate their potential. Since practices are usually slower and consist only of one's teammates, putting prospects into the game gives team officials a chance to see them perform against a true opponent at game speed. Since teams need to evaluate prospects, veterans and starters typically do not play more than one or two quarters, if at all. Despite the fact that the games do not count, fans still buy tickets and attend these games with all the fervor of a regular season game.