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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
March 23, 2020 - Major League Soccer (MLS)

BASEBALL

Major League Baseball: The 30-team MLB announced it will push the start of the 2020 season back at least eight weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so the season could launch around Memorial Day at the earliest. MLB's affiliated leagues under Minor League Baseball are most likely to start play in June. If play is resumed, it is expected all teams will play shortened seasons.

Atlantic League: The eight-team independent Atlantic League announced it will delay that start of its 2020 season, which was to begin on April 30, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league was again planning to have eight teams aligned in four-team Liberty and Freedom divisions. The New Britain Bees left the league after the 2019 season, so the Road Warriors travel-only team was added as an eighth team for 2020.

Western Canadian Baseball League: The summer-collegiate WCBL announced the Sylvan Lake (Alberta) expansion team to be added in 2021 will be called the Sylvan Lake Gulls. Other potential names were Sailors, Slough Sharks, Sunpeaks and Whitecaps.

Liga Mexicana de Beisbol (LMB): Mexico's top Triple-A level LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, announced it will delay the start of its 2020 season by five weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 season was to start on April 6. During the off-season, the LMB had already reduced the regular-season schedule from 120 games to 102 games per team starting with the 2020 season.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced it has cancelled the remainder of its 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The ABA announced teams called the Silicon Valley Panthers and the Virginia Beach Wildcats (Hampton Roads) will play in the 2020-21 season. The league announced the creation of a new realty group that plans to use vacant stores, shopping centers, distribution centers and warehouses in its various markets to develop 2,500-seat venues for ABA teams.

Mid-South Basketball Association: The semi-pro MSBA announced it has cancelled the season for the eight teams that were to participate in the 2020 spring season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MSBA plans to return with its regular fall season.

The Basketball League: The 12-team TBL cancelled the remainder of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams were about halfway through their 24-game schedules that were to run through April 19, 2020.

Florida Basketball Association: The semi-pro FBA completed its inaugural short Winter Season last month with six teams each playing four games. The Winter Season allowed exposure for players looking for roster spots on teams for the regular FBA season that usually runs from mid-April into July. The FBA announced it will delay the start of its 2020 regular season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

FOOTBALL

National Football League: The NFL's Las Vegas Raiders have declined its option to play in the Oakland Coliseum during the 2020 season since its new stadium in Las Vegas should be ready by the end of July.

American Arena League: The AAL has postponed its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The AAL currently lists 14 teams that does not include the Louisville Xtreme, which has decided to cancel its 2020 season entirely. Five of the listed AAL teams are from the Mid-Atlantic Indoor Football League, which is supposed to serve as an AAL East division for the 2020 season.

Elite Indoor Football: The semi-pro EIF announced it will delay the start of the 2020 season, which was to begin next weekend, for one month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Indoor Football Association: Prior to the fifth week of its 2020 season, the seven-team developmental IFA has postponed its season for the next few weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

HOCKEY

Southern Professional Hockey League: The ten-team SPHL announced the cancellation of its 2019-20 regular season and playoffs due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Federal Prospects Hockey League: The ten-team FPHL decided to cancel the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and it will prepare for the 2020-21 season.

Canadian Hockey League: The major-junior CHL and its three regional leagues, the 20-team Ontario Hockey League, the 18-team Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the 22-team Western Hockey League, confirmed the cancellation of the remaining games in the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The status of season-ending playoffs is still to be determined.

United States Hockey League: The 16-team Tier-I junior-level USHL has decided to cancel the rest of the 2019-20 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

North American Hockey League: The 26-team Tier-II junior-level NAHL has cancelled the current 2019-20 regular-season, the playoffs and the championship game due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The owner of the league's Maine Nordiques (Lewiston) has purchased the local hockey arena and an affiliated team called the L/A Nordiques (Lewiston-Auburn) of the Tier-III North American 3 Hockey League will no longer share the arena and will cease operations.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The 26-team MLS will suspend play for at least the next eight weeks due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MLS wants to play the entire 2020 schedule and is considering pushing back the end of the season with the MLS Cup being played in December 2020.

Canadian Premier League: The eight-team men's professional CPL announced it will delay the start of its second season, which was to start April 11, 2020, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

National Women's Soccer League: The nine-team professional NWSL announced it has cancelled the 2020 pre-season schedule and it will delay the start of its 2020 season indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The season was set to start on April 18, 2020. The NWSL's new commissioner recently discussed expansion and said growth to 14 teams would be a near-term target. A new Louisville team will increase the NWSL to ten teams next season, but the league wants to make sure any future additions are under sound ownership. The league has four current teams owned by Major League Soccer clubs and more MLS clubs could become involved in future expansion teams.

USL Championship (United Soccer League): The 35-team professional Division-II USL Championship decided to extend its period without play until at least mid-May due to new guidelines for dealing with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

USL League One (United Soccer League): The 12-team professional Division-III USL League One has delayed the start of its 2020 season until at least mid-May due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

National Premier Soccer League: The men's elite amateur-level NPSL had its West Region of teams start the 2020 season in late February, but that schedule has now been suspended due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The other three regions of teams were set to start their 2020 seasons in early May. The NPSL announced the addition of two more 2020 East Region Southeast Conference teams called the Metro Louisville FC and the Nashville United.

OTHER

American Ultimate Disc League: The 22-team men's professional AUDL will indefinitely suspend the start of its 2020 season, which was to begin on April 4, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league hopes all teams will be able to play their full 12-game regular-season games. The AUDL had 21 teams last season, but added the new Boston Glory as a 22nd team for 2020.

Premier Ultimate League: The 12-team women's PUL ultimate frisbee league announced it has postponed the start of its second season, which was to begin on April 4, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The PUL added four new teams after playing its inaugural 2019 season with eight teams. Each team was set to play a short five-game 2020 schedule and it is uncertain whether the league can extend the season beyond its planned finish in early June 2020.

Major League Rugby: The 12-team professional MLR announced it has cancelled the remainder of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MLR will now focus on a 2021 season.

National Pro Fastpitch: The women's NPF has cancelled two of its opening events scheduled for next month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NPF will announce further scheduling plans for the 2020 season on May 1.

Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking changes in the sports world's leagues, teams and nicknames since April 2007.


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