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Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
November 27, 2017 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

BASEBALL

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: The city of Laredo (TX) has come to an agreement with the Triple-A level LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, for an LMB team to use the city's Uni-Trade Stadium for the 2018 season. The LMB's Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz team has been relocated to Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas) in Mexico and will split its 2018 home schedule between Nuevo Laredo and Laredo with the team being called the Tecolotes de Dos Laredos (The Owls of Two Laredos). The Laredo stadium had been home to the Laredo Lemurs of the independent American Association, but the team folded after the 2016 season.

Atlantic League: Although funding for a new ballpark in High Point (NC) for a potential Atlantic League team is still being debated, the city plans to move forward with demolition next month at a potential downtown stadium site. The stadium is projected for a 2019 opening and is expected to become home to the league's former Bridgeport (CT) Bluefish franchise.

Frontier League: The independent Frontier League posted its 2018 season schedule last month and it will again feature the same six-team East and six-team West divisional alignment with all 12 teams returning from 2017. The 2018 season will run from early May to early September.

International League: Although the Pawtucket Red Sox of the Triple-A International League seem to be focusing on a potential new stadium in Pawtucket, the city of Worcester is still exploring a possible new stadium for the team. The city of Attleboro (MA), which is just across the Rhode Island state line from Pawtucket, has identified a potential stadium site that could also be considered by the Pawtucket Red Sox.

BASKETBALL

Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA's new Las Vegas team, which is the relocated San Antonio Stars franchise, has registered the Las Vegas Stars name but is uncertain if it will be available for use. The city's Las Vegas 51s baseball team in the Triple-A Pacific Coast League was known as the Las Vegas Stars until the 2001 season and Minor League Baseball still owns the trademark for that name.

North American Professional Basketball: The recently announced nickname and logo of the Kansas City Buzz, one of eight teams in the new NAPB that plans to start its inaugural season in January 2018, has been challenged by Georgia Tech (Georgia Institute of Technology) for infringing on its trademarks. As of now, the Kansas City Buzz name has been removed from the league site.

Florida Basketball Association: The FBA announced an Orlando area expansion team called the Windemere Rain will be part of the 2018 season that will start in March.

American Basketball Association: The ABA's Modesto (CA) Super Kats have changed their name to the Stanislaus County (CA) Super Kats.

FOOTBALL

Elite Indoor Football: The EIF, which was a loosely organized 2017 indoor football league featuring the Atlanta Furious and the Southern Steam (Statesboro, GA) as its main teams, recently announced the addition of the Maryland Warriors (Frederick) for the 2018 season. The Warriors were part of the 2017 Mid-Atlantic Indoor Football League.

National Arena League: After much uncertainty over its future in the league, the NAL's Monterrey Steel (Mexico) appears to be ready to announce its return for a second season in 2018.

HOCKEY

National Ringette League: The Canadian women's NRL started its 2017-18 season earlier this month with 15 teams. The league had 16 teams last season, but the Gloucester Devils ceased operations. The five-team Western Conference includes one team based in British Columbia, three teams in Alberta and one team in Manitoba. The Eastern Conference includes a Red Division with four teams based in Ontario and one team in Quebec, while a White Division has four teams in Quebec and one team in New Brunswick. The season runs from early November 2017 to early March 2018. Ringette is of Canadian origin and is a team sport similar to ice hockey in equipment and playing surface. Players use straight sticks to control and pass a rubber ring. The game is centered more around skating and passing rather than puck handling and involves catching or "stabbing" the ring. The NRL started play in 2004.

United Stats Hockey League: The new mayor of Racine (WI) has vetoed funding previously approved for a new arena, which was being targeted as a home to a new team in the Tier-I junior-level USHL.

SOCCER

United Soccer League Division-III League: Earlier this month, officials for the proposed USL Division-III league visited the New England cities of Providence (RI), Manchester (NH), Worcester (MA), and Portland (ME) to evaluate their potential for hosting a team in the new league that plans to start play in 2019. In September and October, league officials visited the Georgia markets of Macon and Statesboro, and the Alabama markets of Mobile, Montgomery and Huntsville.

United Soccer League: A developer in Chicago is moving forward with plans for a new soccer stadium in the Lincoln Yards area of the city that could become home to a USL team by the 2020 season.

National Women's Soccer League: The NWSL has taken control of the FC Kansas City Blues franchise, which will now cease operations. The Kansas City players will be assigned to the recently announced new Salt Lake City NWSL franchise to be operated by Real Salt Lake of Major League Soccer. FC Kansas City was a charter member of the NWSL for the league's inaugural 2013 season.

Major League Soccer: After a discussion this week involving officials from the MLS, the proposed FC Cincinnati expansion effort and Hamilton County (OH), the city's National Football League stadium will no longer be considered as home to an MLS team, so the FC Cincinnati will continue to work toward building a soccer-specific stadium. A Columbus organization announced plans for a downtown soccer stadium to keep the MLS's Columbus Crew from moving to Austin, but those plans were quickly scrapped after citing issues with trying to acquire the proposed stadium site.

North American Soccer League: The owners of the NASL's FC Edmonton and San Francisco Deltas both announced the teams have ceased operations. FC Edmonton, also known as the Eddies, joined the NASL for the league's inaugural 2011 season, while San Francisco was a 2017 expansion team. There is a possibility Edmonton could reappear in the future as part of the proposed Canadian Premier League. With the loss of these two teams and the recent move of the league's North Carolina FC to the United Soccer League, the NASL is down to five teams. Two new California teams in San Diego and Orange County previously announced plans to join the NASL for the 2018 season. The NASL is in a legal battle with the recent removal of its Division-II status by the United States Soccer Federation.

National Premier Soccer League: The men's elite-level NPSL announced another new California-based team called El Farolito (San Francisco) has been added to the West Region's Golden Gate Conference for the 2018 season.

Western Indoor Soccer League: The amateur-level WISL, which has all teams located in the state of Washington, started its fourth season earlier this month with five teams called the Bellingham United FC Hammers, Oly Town Artesians (Olympia), Olympic Force FC (Bremerton), Snohomish Skyhawks and Tacoma Stars Reserves. The league had six teams last season, but the Sporting Everett FC did not return. The 2017-18 regular season runs until early February.

OTHER

Major League Rugby: Although the new MLR plans to start play in April 2018 with seven teams, there are other potential teams ready to join for the 2019 season. A new Toronto area team called the Ontario Arrows, which is affiliated with a local team called the Ontario Blues, plans to join the MLR in 2019 and will play a couple of 2018 games against MLR teams. The New York City RC is also planning to join the MLR for the 2019 season. A Dallas-based team that was originally announced for the 2018 season decided to delay its entry into the MLR until the 2019 season. Other possible future MLR markets include Chicago, Boston, Kansas City and Vancouver (British Columbia).

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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Major League Soccer Stories from November 27, 2017


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