Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
April 3, 2017 - United Soccer League (USL)

BASEBALL

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: The 16-team Triple-A level LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, started its 2017 season this weekend after two off-season relocations. The Broncos de Reynosa moved to Leon (Guanajuato) as the Bravos de Leon and the Delfines de Ciudad del Carmen relocated to become the Generales de Durango for the 2017 season. The Bravos de Leon were placed in the South Division, or Zona Sur, while the Generales de Durango were placed in the North Division, or Zona Norte.

Major League Baseball: Although a Montreal investor group has met many of MLB\'s conditions for a franchise, it will have to wait for an expansion team or a possible relocated team.

BASKETBALL

BIG 3 League: The proposed new BIG3 professional 3-on-3 basketball league has announced another new team called the Power has been added. The league has now announced seven of eight proposed touring teams consisting of former National Basketball Association players that will start play in June 2017.

North American Basketball League: The spring-summer NABL started its second season this week and currently lists 19 teams in four regional conferences after operating with 9 teams last season. Some of the new teams include the Panama City Piranhas, Birmingham Vulcans, Huntsville Force, Texas Wolverines (Houston), Kitsap Admirals, Quad City Flame, Tacoma Thunder and SB Battle (Vancouver).

FOOTBALL

National Football League: The NFL\'s Oakland Raiders have received conditional approval to relocate to Las Vegas (NV) where a new 65,000-seat stadium is to be built for the team. The Raiders announced plans to play the 2017 and 2018 seasons at the Coliseum in Oakland.

China Arena Football League: The six-team CAFL, which is considered a professional developmental league for the U.S.-based Arena Football League and completed its inaugural 2016 season this past fall, announced it plans to expand to eight teams for its second season in 2017.

HOCKEY

Eastern Hockey League: The EHL recently announced its 2017-18 league alignment that will have 16 teams in the Premier Division and 17 teams in the Elite Division.

Canadian Premier Junior Hockey League: The new Ontario-based CPJHL, which operates under the United Hockey Union of the Amateur Athletic Union and recently completed its inaugural 2016-17 season, has dropped two teams called the O\'Town Rebels (Ottawa) and the Almonte Sharpshooters. The league\'s Norwood Nemesis announced it will relocate and rebrand as the Cobourg Galaxy for the 2017-18 season.

World League of Roller Hockey: The four-team USA Midwest division of Major League Roller Hockey\'s new World League started play this weekend. Teams include the Detroit Phoenix, Detroit Revolution, Canfield Kings (Dearborn, MI) and Pennsylvania Inferno. The league also has USA East, USA West and three European divisions.

SOCCER

United Soccer League: The city of Boise (ID) is moving forward on land acquisition for a new stadium that would become home to the Boise Hawks baseball team in the short-season Class-A Northwest League and also a proposed USL expansion team, possibly affiliated with the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer. While moving up from Division-III status this season after receiving provisional Division-II status, the USL is reported to be developing a new Division-III soccer league that could start play in 2019. The new USL Division-III league will be for markets with a population between 150,000 and a million. The league has been under development for several months and an official announcement of the league and teams will be in the summer of 2017.

American Soccer League: The developmental pro ASL started its 2017 Spring Season schedule this weekend featuring six teams playing from early April to late June. The ASL had eight teams for its 2017 Fall Season, but the Atlanta Futuro, Connecticut United FC, IFK Maryland and Long Island Express did not return. The AFC Lancaster (PA) Lions, Mass United FC (Lynn/Boston), Philadelphia Fury and New Hampshire Bobcats have returned and the league added two new teams called the Philadelphia Atoms and the Maryland-based SGFC Eagles, also known as the Super Green FC Eagles. The ASL started play with a Fall Season in 2014.

Major League Futsal USA: The professional MLF USA started its third season last weekend with 22 teams. In December 2016, the MLF USA executive committee formed the North American Futsal Federation (NAFF), which will serve as the North American governing body authorized by the world governing body of futsal known as the Asociacion Mundial de Futbol (AMF). The MLF USA will serve as the first division professional league under the NAFF. The NAFF is now a member of the AMF confederation called CONCACFUTSAL, which will be 1 of 7 confederations in the world. OTHER

PRO Rugby: About this time last year, the league known as PRO Rugby was getting ready to start its inaugural season with five teams called the Denver Stampede, Ohio Aviators (Columbus), Sacramento Express, San Diego Breakers and San Francisco Rush, but a 2017 season never developed. The league had hoped to expand to eight teams for a second season with the addition of markets in Canada and the northeast United States being considered. In addition to having some unpaid debts, the league was involved in disputes about sanctioning with USA Rugby and Rugby Canada and its future is unknown. In December 2016, the San Francisco franchise was folded and plans were announced to terminate all player contracts.

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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