Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
December 24, 2018 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (Mexican Baseball League): After the Triple-A LMB, Mexican Baseball League, announced last month that 4 of its 16 teams would not participate in the 2019 season, the league recently reversed the decision and reinstated teams called the Aguascaliente Rieleros, Leon Bravos, Puebla Pericos and Union Laguna Algodoneros for the 2019 season.
Northwoods League: The new ownership of the Thunder Bay (Ontario) Border Cats has signed an agreement with the summer-collegiate Northwoods League that will allow the team to continue as a member of the league for the 2019 season.
Southern League: Ownership of the Double-A Southern League's Tennessee Smokies (Kodak) is reported to be working on plans to have the team move back to Knoxville where a new downtown stadium would be built for the team. The former Knoxville Smokies moved 40 miles southeast to a new stadium in the Kodak/Sevierville area for the 2000 season and were renamed the Tennessee Smokies.
American Basketball Association: The ABA announced a new team called the New York/Harlem Underdogs as a 2019-20 expansion team. The league had a previous Harlem-based team called the Harlem Revival (Revs) that started the 2004-05 season, became the Harlem Strong Dogs under new ownership in January 2005 and played through the 2005-06 season before moving the Tampa.
World Club Basketball Association - International: The WCBA-International is a new minor basketball league for senior pro-am players in the United States who are looking to play in international competitions. The league has partnered with several European basketball tournaments including England's World Club Basketball Tournament. Eight teams called USA Denver, Parker (CO) Hoops, Cedar Rapids Royals, Salina (KS) Saints, Minnesota Blizzards, Omaha Cuttaz, Las Vegas Unknown and Silver State Kings (Reno/LV) will compete in 2019 for the right to participate in these international tournaments.
Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA announced its 2019 season schedule that will feature the same 12 teams as last season aligned in six-team Eastern and Western conferences. The 2019 WNBA regular season will run from late May to mid-July.
Canadian Football League: As an ownership group prepares to bring a CFL expansion team to Halifax (Nova Scotia) for the 2021 season, the CFL has scheduled a 2019 regular-season game for a yet-to-be-determined location in Atlantic Canada. The CFL last held a regular-season game in Moncton (New Brunswick) during the 2013 season. The proposed Halifax expansion team is working on designs for a new stadium and has sold 6,000 season tickets.
National Arena League: The NAL officially announced the New York Streets has been added as a 2019 expansion team with home games to be played at the Westchester County Center. The New York City market had three different teams that were part of the original Arena Football League with the New York Knights (1988), New York CityHawks (1997-98) and New York Dragons (2001-08).
New England Arena League: The proposed new NEAL announced a team called the Mass State Wolverines (South Hadley, MA) from the outdoor semi-pro New England Football League will be the indoor league's second team when it starts play in 2019. The New England Cavalry, which played as a travel team in the 2018 American Arena League, is the other previously announced NEAL team. The NEAL plans to play all league games at one location that has yet to be finalized.
United States Premier Hockey League: The Tier-III USPHL-Premier dropped the Lehigh Valley Rebels (Whitehall, PA) team from the 2018-19 schedule earlier this month for using an underage player.
Interstate Hockey League: The organizer of the proposed Michigan-based IHL semi-pro senior league has decided to hold off its start until the 2019-20 season. Over this past summer, the IHL had announced six teams with a schedule to start in October, but the organizer wants to wait and build a stronger league that could start with 16 teams in four teams in four geographic regions across the state.
USL Championship: The Ottawa Fury FC will be part of the Division-II USL Championship league, formerly known as the United Soccer League, for the 2019 season. Last week, the CONCACAF (Confederation of North, Central American and Caribbean Association Football), which is the continental governing body for association football (soccer) in North America, would not sanction the Ottawa Fury FC for the 2019 USL Championship as it was trying to force the team to be part of the new professional Canadian Premier League that is starting in 2019. After the Ottawa Fury FC sought a hearing before the Court of Arbitration for Sport, the CONCACAF changed its decision this week and has now sanctioned the Ottawa Fury FC to participate in the 2019 season of the USL Championship. A potential ownership group in Queens (NY) is looking to establish a Division-II USL Championship team, possibly to be called the Queensboro FC, for the 2020 season.
National Premier Soccer League: A new team called the Crossfire Redmond (WA) has been added to the men's elite-level NPSL as a 2019 expansion team. The team will be placed in the West Region's Northwest Conference.
National Premier Soccer League "" Pro: When the new Division-III NPSL "" Pro starts play with its Founders Cup competition in August 2019, the 11 teams will be divided into an East Region with Chattanooga FC, Detroit City FC, Miami FC, Miami United FC, Milwaukee Torrent and New York Cosmos, and a West Region with ASC San Diego, Cal FC, California United Strikers FC, FC Arizona and the Oakland Roots. The competition will lead to a full pro league spring-to-fall schedule in 2020.
U.S. Premiership: The proposed new U.S. Premiership league announced two more teams called the Omega Select (Port St. Lucie, FL) and the Summerlin (NV) Red Rocks FC have been added for the league's initial season in 2019.
National Independent Soccer Association: The proposed new Division-III professional NISA announced last month a new Atlanta team will compete in the league's inaugural season that will start in August 2019. Charlotte, Philadelphia and New England (Connecticut) were previously announced for NISA teams.
Major League Soccer: Franklin County (OH) has approved its portion of funding for development costs related to a new soccer stadium to be built in Columbus to keep the MLS's Columbus Crew SC in the city. The Columbus Crew SC are expected to come under new management with the MLS granting the team's current operator, Precourt Sports Ventures (PSV), an MLS expansion team in Austin. This week, PSV finalized an agreement with the city of Austin to finance a new soccer-specific stadium for an MLS expansion team called Austin FC. The stadium is to be completed in time for the 2021 season.
Premier Lacrosse League: The proposed new professional outdoor lacrosse PLL announced the six coaches that will lead the six yet-to-be-named teams for the league's inaugural season starting in June 2019. The PPL will be a touring league making stops in 12 major markets and playing three games during weekend events. The PLL team names and markets will be announced in the near future.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Leagues, Teams & Nicknames, 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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