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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
February 3, 2014 - Frontier League (FL)

BASEBALL

Frontier League: A developer is interested in building a ballpark in Franklin (WI), a southern suburb of Milwaukee, for a possible Frontier League franchise. The city expressed initial support for the project, but financing has not been worked out. The developer has submitted an application for a Frontier League franchise that could start play in 2015.

Major League Baseball: The city of Portland (OR) has developed plans for a 35,000-seat baseball stadium and would welcome an existing MLB team interested in relocating to the area. The city's most recent team was the Portland Beavers of the Triple-A Pacific Coast League. The Beavers' home was converted to a soccer stadium for the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer and the PCL team relocated to become the Tucson Padres for the 2011 season.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball League of Canada: The owner of the Ottawa SkyHawks, a 2013-14 expansion team playing its first season in the NBL-Canada, is not guaranteeing the team will return for a second season in the league. The SkyHawks were suffering from low attendance in a 20,000-seat home arena that was considered too big.

Central Basketball League: The CBL has added a new North Carolina-based team called the Carolina Warhawks and three West Virginia-based teams called the St. Alban Wild, Logan Mustangs and West Virginia Angels for its upcoming 2014 season. The league's Palm Beach Seagulls team announced it has changed its name to the Palm Beach Pelicans. A team called the West Virginia Angels was recently dropped by the Premier Basketball League after playing only one game of its 2014 schedule. The CBL stated it has finalized the 18 teams that will be part of the inaugural 2014 season.

American Basketball Association: The ABA announced new teams called the Brooklyn SkyRockets and DMV Kings will start play in the 2014-15 season. The league tried to place a team called the Brooklyn Blackout in the 2013-14 season, but it apparently never materialized. The "DMV" stands for the "D" in DC (District of Columbia), "M' for Maryland and "V" for Virginia because the team will play its home games in all of these locations.

Central Basketball Association: The four remaining teams at the end of the Central Basketball League's inaugural season in 2013 have joined together and formed the new CBA. The four former CBL teams called the Bowling Green (KY) Hornets, Middle Tennessee Storm (Nashville area), River City Panthers (Peoria, IL) and St. Louis Hawks will join three recently announced new teams called the Chattanooga Rail Runners, Fort Wayne Flite and Memphis Soul Kings for a 2014 season starting on March 1. The CBA plans to add four additional teams in Chicago, Columbus (OH), Lexington (KY) and South Bend (IN) for the 2015 season.

Women's United States Basketball Association: The proposed WUSBA, which has been trying to get off the ground over the past few years, plans to start play in June 2014 with 32 teams. Later this month, the league will announce the eight cities and four high schools per city that will each host WUSBA teams.

FOOTBALL

Professional Indoor Football League: The Albany (GA) Panthers of the PIFL announced the team needs to raise $100,000 within a week in order to be part of the league's 2014 season. The PIFL has been planning to start its third season next month with eight teams. The Albany Panthers started play in 2010 as part of the Southern Indoor Football League (SIFL) and moved to the PIFL for the 2012 season after the SIFL folded.

Ultimate Indoor Football League: The UIFL officially announced the Miami Inferno (Coral Gables) as its third team for the upcoming 2014 season. Another new team called the Austin Nitro is listed on the UIFL site, but has not yet been officially announced. The Florida Tarpons (Fort Myers) and Corpus Christi Fury are the only teams returning from the six-team 2013 season. Last season's Sarasota Thunder folded, while the Georgia Rampage (Dalton), Lakeland Raiders (since renamed the Florida Marine Raiders) and Missouri Monsters (since renamed the St. Louis Attack) moved to the new X-League Indoor Football.

Continental Indoor Football League: The CIFL has confirmed the new Chicago Blitz team replaces the Chicago Slaughter in the 2014 alignment. The Blitz will play home games at The Odeum (Villa Park) and the Intra Soccer complex (Elgin). After moving from the Indoor Football League to the CIFL for the 2014 season, the Chicago Slaughter cancelled its 2014 season that was scheduled for the Sears Centre in Hoffman Estates.

National Football League: The owner of the NFL's St. Louis Rams reportedly purchased a 60-acre site in Los Angeles fueling speculation the owner wants to build a new stadium and move the Rams to Los Angeles. The Rams have been unable to work out a deal for stadium upgrades in St. Louis and their lease expires after the 2014 season. The NFL has control over expansion or relocation for the Los Angeles market, so if the Rams intend to move they would have to meet the league's relocation guidelines.

Stars Football League: The Florida-based SFL, which has been trying to develop as a professional springtime football league since its start in 2011, recently announced its 2014 schedule will feature six teams. The four teams from last season-the Miami Ironmen, Fort Lauderdale Barracudas, Pompano Beach Swampdogs and Daytona Beach Racers-will return, along with new teams called the Orlando Piranhas and Palm Beach Admirals. Each team will play four games. The SFL has never had more than four teams in any of its previous seasons and teams have never played more than four games per season.

HOCKEY

National Hockey League: The NHL's Phoenix Coyotes officially announced the team will be renamed the Arizona Coyotes for the start of the 2014-15 season. The team wants to be recognized for the entire state and the Southwest instead of just the Glendale and Phoenix area. The Phoenix Coyotes came into existence when the Winnipeg Jets moved to Phoenix for the 1996-97 season.

ECHL: The ECHL announced the San Francisco Bulls franchise has ceased operations and will not complete the 2013-14 season. The Bulls were only in their second season having joined as an expansion franchise for the 2012-13 season. The team was suffering financially and hoped to secure new ownership, but a deal could not be finalized. Last week, the Bakersfield Condors were incorrectly called the Falcons in the story about the Edmonton Oilers purchase of the Bakersfield ECHL team.

American Hockey League: The city of Glens Falls (NY) is negotiating with an unnamed AHL franchise to replace the Adirondack Phantoms when the Phantoms move to a new arena in Allentown (PA) for the 2014-15 season. An official in Glens Falls stated a potential new AHL team will not be the relocated Portland (ME) Pirates team, which was playing its 2013-14 season in Lewiston (ME) after an arena contract dispute in Portland. Officials with the arena in Portland recently sent the Pirates a new lease proposal that could see the team return to Portland for the 2014-15 season.

SOCCER

United Soccer Leagues - PRO: The Los Angeles Galaxy of Major League Soccer (MLS) announced it will own and operate a new affiliated team called the Los Angeles Galaxy II in the 2014 season of the USL PRO league. The Galaxy II will become the 14th team in the USL PRO, which also announced its 2014 schedule that will feature all 14 teams aligned into one table. Of the 14 USL PRO teams, only the Phoenix FC Wolves, Charlotte Eagles and Los Angeles Blues do not currently have MLS affiliations. Of the 13 teams from last season, the VSI Tampa Bay FC and Antigua Barracuda FC did not return, but the league added the Los Angeles Galaxy II, Sacramento Republic FC and Oklahoma City Energy FC. The USL PRO plans to add expansion teams in Colorado Springs and Tulsa in 2015. The Colorado Springs team recently announced it will be called the Colorado Springs Switchbacks FC, or Switchbacks FC.

United Soccer Leagues - Premier Development League: The PDL has announced its 2014 schedule and alignment that will feature 64 teams in 4 geographic conferences and a total of 10 divisions. New teams for 2014 include the Montreal Impact U23 and San Jose Earthquakes, both affiliated with their respective Major League Soccer clubs; the Pittsburgh Riverhounds U23 and Cincinnati Dutch Lions, both affiliated with respective USL PRO teams called the Pittsburgh Riverhounds and Dayton Dutch Lions; and the Las Vegas Mobsters, Albuquerque Sol FC, Floridians FC (Miami) and Lane United FC Reds (Eugene, OR). A few teams changed names for the 2014 season-the F.A. Euro-New York Magic to F.A. Euro, the NJ LUSO Rangers to the NJ LUSO Parma, and the North Sound SeaWolves to the Puget Sound Gunners FC.

National Premier Soccer League: The men's elite-level NPSL announced three additional 2014 expansion teams called the Electric City Shock SC (Scranton, PA), Joplin (MO) Demize and the Westfield Select from the Indianapolis area. The NPSL had added over 30 expansion teams for the 2014 season.

OTHER

Canadian Lacrosse League: The five-team CLAX has started its 2014 schedule. Due to a scheduling conflict, the CLAX has cancelled the five regular-season games that were to have been played in Cattaraugus (NY) against the Tuscarora Tomahawks of the Can-Am Senior B Lacrosse League. Each CLAX team was to have played an extra road game in Tuscarora, so now each team will just play four home and four road games in 2014.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the "The Leagueology Almanac 2012-13", which tracks the changes in league alignments, franchise movements and team nicknames in today's sports world. The publication is currently available at www.amazon.com.


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