Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
March 25, 2019 - Major League Soccer (MLS)
Southwest League of Professional Baseball: It looks as though the proposed new independent SWL will not start as planned with four teams in 2019 due to the organizer's lack of funding. The status of a proposed new ballpark for one of its teams called the Royse City (TX) Griffins is facing financial issues and the project is on hold. The city of Joplin (MO) recently ended a ballpark lease agreement with the SWL's proposed Joplin Miners team. The SWL's Waco BlueCats are still trying to finance a new stadium. A yet-to-be-named team in Dallas was announced as the league's fourth member.
Liga Norte de Mexico: Mexico's Double-A LNM baseball league, or Northern Mexico League, will play with only five teams in 2019 after the Puerto Penasco Tiburones decided to drop out late last month due to financial issues. The league had added a sixth team called the La Paz Delfines (Baja California Sur) in the off-season when the Tecate Indios decided to sit out the 2019 season, but now the league is back down to five teams. Both Puerto Penasco and Tecate hope to return in 2020.
Mid-South Basketball Association: The new six-team semi-pro MSBA will add some games against non-league teams during its current inaugural 2019 season. This will include the four teams called the Cincinnati Movement, Louisville Diesel, Dayton Sharks and Indiana Generals that make up the Northern Division of the 2019 Universal Basketball Association. Another 2019 non-league team will be the Bluegrass Bulls (near Lexington, KY), who were part of the 2018 National Professional Basketball Association and originally listed as a full-schedule MSBA team. Non-league games will count in the 2019 standings.
Universal Basketball Association: The semi-pro UBA started its 2019 season earlier this month and currently lists 30 teams in six regional conferences (Northern, Southern, Western, Eastern, Gold and Lone Star). Previously listed eight-team Heartland and Great Plains conferences apparently will not be part of the 2019 season. The UBA first started play in 2009 as the United Regions Basketball League.
World Club Basketball Association - International: The new league known as the WCBA-International has started to hold combines for its inaugural 2019 season that will feature eight teams called the Cedar Rapids (IA) Royals, USA Denver All Stars, Las Vegas Unknown, Minnesota Blizzards, Omaha Cuttaz, Parker (CO) Hoops, Silver State Kings (Las Vegas) and Salina (KS) Saints. The WCBA is an American-European organization that allows senior pro-am players a means to showcase their talent on a global platform. The WCBA also has seven teams listed from the United Kingdom. The top two teams in the U.S.-based league will advance to the annual World Club Basketball Tournament held this September in the United Kingdom.
American Patriot League: The proposed new outdoor professional APL, which was to start play this spring with eight teams, recently announced it will delay its start until the spring of 2020. The APL also recently announced Ypsilanti (MI) as its seventh team location. The other announced markets include Daytona Beach, Mobile, Sacramento, Shreveport, Houston and Canton (OH). These seven markets plus at least one yet-to-be-announced location will have teams in 2020.
Champions Indoor Football: The indoor football league known as the CIF started its 2019 season this weekend with eight teams aligned in four-team Northern and Southern conferences. The CIF had 11 teams at the start of the 2018 season, but the Dallas Marshals suspended operations during the 2018 season and did not return, the Quad City Steamwheelers (Moline, IL) and Bismarck (ND) Bucks left for the Indoor Football League, and the Kansas City Phantoms folded after only two seasons in the league. The CIF added an expansion team called the Oklahoma Flying Aces (Enid) for the 2019 season. The CIF season schedule runs through June 2019. The CIF started play in the 2015 season.
American Arena League: The AAL started its second season last weekend with 14 teams aligned in four-team Northern and Southern divisions and three-team Atlantic and Midwestern divisions. The Northern Division includes the New England Bobcats (Lowell, MA) from the 2018 Elite Indoor Football, the expansion Pittsburgh Defenders (also Burgh Defenders), the West Virginia Roughriders, which moved from Richmond (VA) to Wheeling (WV) for 2019, and the Jersey Flight (Trenton), which the AAL recently announced will return for 2019. The Southern Division includes the returning Carolina Energy (Charlotte) and Georgia Doom (Macon), along with two 2018 AAL travel teams called the Peach State Cats (Athens, GA) and the Carolina Cowboyz (Pendleton, SC). The Atlantic Division includes the returning Cape Fear Heroes (Fayetteville, NC), the Carolina Havoc (Florence, SC), which played as the Atlanta Havoc last season, and the new Carolina Predators (Greenville, SC). The Midwestern Division has three teams called the Chicago Aztecs, Indianapolis Enforcers and West Michigan Ironmen (Muskegon) that were all part of the 2018 Midwestern Professional Indoor Football. Teams that did not return from last season are the Rochester (NY) Kings, East Carolina/Triangle Torch (Raleigh, NC), Upstate Dragons (Anderson, SC), Florida Tarpons (Lakeland) and High Country Grizzlies (Boone, NC). In addition, two 2018 AAL affiliate teams called the Austin Wild and New England Cavalry did not return for 2019. The AAL season runs through early June 2019 and includes some games against non-league teams.
National Football League: The NFL's Oakland Raiders will remain at the Oakland-Alameda County Coliseum for the 2019 season with an option on the 2020 season, if the team's new stadium in Las Vegas is not ready.
American West Football Conference: The new indoor AWFC started its inaugural season this week with four teams called the Idaho Horsemen (Nampa), Reno Express (operated by Idaho Horsemen ownership), Tri-Cities Fire (Kennewick, WA) and Wenatchee Valley (WA) Skyhawks. A fifth team called the Sacramento Spartans was announced for the 2019 season, but dropped out due to home arena issues.
United States Hockey League: A new practice facility for the National Hockey League's St. Louis Blues is under construction in suburban Maryland Heights and its 2,500-seat main arena has been rumored to become home to a team in the Tier-I junior-level USHL. The USHL had the former St. Louis Heartland Eagles team, which played one season (2003-04) in the league after Topeka ScareCrows moved to St. Louis. The Heartland Eagles eventually folded.
Federal Hockey League: The A-level minor professional FHL, whose official name became the Federal Professional Hockey League in 2016, now has "Federal Prospects Hockey League" in its league logo even though the league is still referred to as the Federal Hockey League.
Major League Soccer: The Miami-based MLS expansion team known as Inter Miami CF received initial approval to move forward on a proposed redevelopment project on the site of Lockhart Stadium in Fort Lauderdale that will include a new 18,000-seat stadium, which is expected to serve as Inter Miami's temporary home when it starts play in 2020. The Fort Lauderdale facility will be the training facility for the MLS team and also home to an affiliated team, possibly in the Division-II USL Championship.
United Soccer League "" USL Championship: The ownership of the Boise Hawks baseball team in the short-season Class-A Northwest League is moving forward with plans to try to build a replacement baseball stadium that would also be used for a Division-II team in the USL Championship league. If financing moves forward, it is hoped the stadium would be ready for the 2021 season.
Women's Premier Soccer League: The elite-level WPSL recently posted its league alignment that will feature 119 teams for the 2019 season. Teams are aligned in four regions (West, Central, South and East) with each region further divided into conferences and divisions. The WPSL added 29 new team members across all regions for the 2019 season. The WPSL season starts in early May.
World TeamTennis: The professional WTT recently announced its 2019 season schedule will run from July 14 to 31 with each of its eight teams playing a 14-match season.
Premier Lacrosse League: The proposed new professional outdoor lacrosse PLL, which will be a six-team touring league starting in June 2019, announced Washington (DC) as the sixth location to host one of the league's 12 weekend events.
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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- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
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