Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 14, 2016 - NBA Development League (D-League)

BASEBALL

Atlantic League: The Lancaster (PA) Barnstormers of the independent Atlantic League have worked out a restructured lease agreement with Lancaster County. The team's ownership had asked for assistance back in September because the annual rent was causing ongoing financial problems for the team.

Major League Baseball: A rumor out of Canada stated that the owner of MLB's Tampa Bay Rays will sponsor a feasibility study for a new baseball stadium in Montreal that could become home to the Rays. The Rays are currently looking a new stadium sites in the Tampa area and stated the team is committed to the Tampa market.

Great West League: The summer-collegiate GWL is adding a new 2017 team called the Lincoln (CA) Potters that will be located just northeast of Sacramento. The GWL played its first season in 2016 with six teams, but it will be down to only five teams in 2017 as teams called the Sacramento Stealth and Lodi (CA) Crushers will be inactive.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association Development League (D-League): The NBA D-League started its 2016-17 season this week with 22 teams, each having a direct affiliation with an NBA team. In the off-season, the D-League added three new teams called the Windy City Bulls (Hoffman Estates, IL), Greensboro (NC) Swarm and the Long Island Nets (Brooklyn). Also, the D-League's Bakersfield Jam was sold to the NBA's Phoenix Suns and moved to Prescott Valley (AZ) to become the Northern Arizona Suns, while the NBA's Utah Jazz moved its Idaho Stampede D-League team from Boise to become the Salt Lake City Stars for the 2016-17 season. Of the eight NBA teams without a D-League affiliation, the Atlanta Hawks recently announced plans to start its own D-League expansion team for the 2019-20 season. The team will be based out of a new 3,500-seat arena to be built in the College Park area of Atlanta. The NBA's Indiana Pacers announced they will keep its Fort Wayne (IN) Mad Ants D-League affiliate in Fort Wayne, although they would like a new downtown arena for the team. There had been talk of the Pacers moving their D-League team to Carmel (IN), a northern suburb of Indianapolis.

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA recently announced a team called the Athens (GA) Predators will join for the 2017-18 season along with a yet-to-be-named new team in Charlotte. The ABA recently started its 2016-17 season with over 100 teams aligned in 12 regional divisions.

Women's Blue Chip Basketball League: The WBCBL, which claims to be the premier professional development basketball league for women, recently announced it has added three Florida-based teams for the 2017 season. The teams include the Central Florida Swans (Tampa), Orlando Stars and Orange Park Crusaders (Jacksonville). The WBCBL has been around since 2005 and plays a spring/summer schedule. Women's Universal Basketball Association: The WUBA, which is affiliated with the men's Universal Basketball Association and started play in 2011, announced it will have 11 teams for its 2016-17 season. The five-team Southern Conference features Georgia-based teams called the GIE Lady Matrix, Southern Generals, Atlanta Legends, Georgia Disciples and Metro Atlanta Sparks. The six-team Western Conference has teams in Texas and Oklahoma called the Texas Cyclones, Cleveland (TX) Havok, Questlife Legacy, Fort Worth Fresh, Oklahoma Outlaws and Oklahoma City Heat. The 2016-17 WUBA season starts next month.

Central Basketball Development League: The organizer of the CBDL announced the league will take some time off before trying a return with serious owners in the future. The CBDL started as the Central Basketball League in 2013, played two short spring seasons as the CBDL in 2014 and 2015, and did not play in 2016 after a failed merger with the North American Basketball League.

FOOTBALL

Arena Pro Football: The proposed new APF, which was originally called the National Arena Football League and plans to start play in the spring of 2017, announced the Florida Tarpons (Estero) have joined the league. The Tarpons were part of the now-defunct American Indoor Football for the 2016 season and had previously announced plans to join the proposed new Arena Developmental League. The APF also announced the proposed new Virginia Roughriders team will be based in Richmond and the team is now called the Richmond Roughriders.

North American Indoor Football: The NAIF, which had a loosely organized 2016 season with about six participating teams, announced it is no longer a league and the teams have gone their separate ways. The NAIF stated a Team Mexico will be part of a new indoor league.

Arena Football League: Although it had been speculated the AFL's Los Angeles KISS franchise would not return in 2017, the KISS finally made an official announcement this week that the team will not be playing in the 2017 season. The KISS is one of five 2016 AFL teams not returning in 2017.

National Football League: Voters in San Diego recently rejected an initiative to build a new stadium for the NFL's San Diego Chargers. The team could make another stadium attempt in San Diego or exercise an option that expires on January 15, 2017 to move to Los Angeles and share the Rams' new stadium. The Chargers might also attempt to get the Los Angeles option extended for another year.

HOCKEY

New England Women's Junior Hockey League: The NEWJHL started its 2016-17 season in mid-September with five teams. The league had the same six teams for its first two seasons, but the Boston Bandits team did not return for the league's third season in 2016-17.

Junior Women's Hockey League: The JWHL started its tenth season early last month with nine teams in its Major Junior division. Four teams are based in Canada and five are based in the United States.

World League of Roller Hockey: Major League Roller Hockey's proposed new World League of Roller Hockey recently announced the divisions for the inaugural season that will start in January 2017. North America will have five regional divisions (West, Southwest, Southeast, East and Midwest) in the United States, while Europe will have separate divisions for teams from Scandinavia, the United Kingdom and the rest of Europe in a Europa division. The European teams will have their playoffs in May with the champion traveling to the United States to face the North American champion.

SOCCER

Canadian Premier League: The proposed professional CPL is organizing for a possible start in 2018. The league is expected to include some ownership groups and markets from the Canadian Football League. One of the first proposed CPL teams is to be operated by the ownership of the CFL's Hamilton Tiger-Cats and two possible names - the Hamilton Steelers and Hamilton United - have been trademarked. The Hamilton ownership group backed out of plans in 2015 to place a Hamilton-based team in the North American Soccer League.

Major League Soccer: The Sacramento city council has approved plans for a new soccer stadium and a surrounding development that should help the chances for the ownership of the Sacramento Republic FC obtain a future MLS expansion franchise. The proposed MLS expansion team for Miami is still trying to purchase one remaining parcel of land at the site of a planned 25,000-seat stadium. The league is adding a new Los Angeles team in 2018 and would like to add Miami at that time. It looks as though a new stadium will not be ready in Miami by 2018, so a temporary location would have to be considered if Miami were to start play in 2018.

National Premier Soccer League: The owner of the proposed men's soccer team called the Hartford City FC plans to place the team in the elite-level NPSL and it is said to be in the final approval process for being accepted into the league. The owner purchased the Hartford City FC name and logo after a previous ownership group disbanded when plans to build a new soccer stadium for a proposed North American Soccer League team by the same name fell victim to a stadium funding scandal.

OTHER

Arena Lacrosse League: The proposed new professional ALL, which will start play in January 2017 with six teams based in Ontario (Canada), has announced the team names will be the Oshawa Outlaws, Paris River Wolves, Peterborough Timbermen, St. Catharines Shock Wave, Six Nations Snipers (Hagersville) and Toronto Monarchs.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames 2015-16: "The Leagueology Almanac" , which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is available for sale at www.amazon.com.


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