Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
April 13, 2020 - XFL (XFL)
Major League Baseball: MLB has been considering various contingency plans that would let teams start play once the situation with the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) start to subside. One proposed plan would use the spring training facilities and other stadiums in the Phoenix area and play games without fans. Another proposed plan expanded on this and would split the 30 teams into a Florida-based Grapefruit League and an Arizona-based Cactus League similar to spring training. Teams would play games at spring training facilities and other stadiums without fans and for a television audience only. The MLB is still evaluating all options and would need approval from the players' association on a final plan.
Pecos League: The fourteen-team independent Pecos League says it is monitoring the situation with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic but as of now it is still on track to start the 2020 season on May 27. In its six-team California-based Pacific Division, the new Santa Cruz Seaweed team has reappeared in the 2020 alignment replacing another previously announced 2020 expansion team called the Pittsburg Anchors.
Valley Baseball League: The summer-collegiate VBL, which is one of the 12 leagues in the National Alliance of College Summer Baseball (NACSB), announced it has cancelled its entire 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 season was to start in eight weeks. Some other summer-collegiate teams have gone on hiatus as other leagues are considering how to proceed for the 2020 season.
National Basketball Association: The NBA is considering plans on how to finish its 2019-20 season that was shut down last month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. One plan would be to hold the rest of a shortened season and playoffs at one location, such as Las Vegas or Orlando, without fans. Teams would play five to seven games to finish the season and 16 teams would participate in the playoffs.
Liga Mexicana de Baloncesto Profesional Femenil: Mexico's ten-team professional women's basketball league known as the LMBPF suspended play last month for its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The league had played only six weeks of a 20-week season scheduled to end on May 5.
Minor League Basketball Association: The semi-pro MLBA announced this week that the start of its third season has been pushed back beyond the month of April due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 season was supposed to start on April 4, but a previous announcement had already pushed that back to April 23.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced two teams called the Lawrence (KS) Admirals and the Trenton (NJ) Titans have been added as 2020-21 expansion teams.
United Basketball League: The UBL semi-pro exposure league, which has been playing a season consisting of weekend "cluster" events the past few years, cancelled its event scheduled for March 21 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The UBL had completed events in January and February with a total of nine teams participating. A total of 13 teams were listed as participants for the 2020 season that was also to include a future event in April, another in May and two in June. This season's events were to be held at a gym in either Dallas or Mesquite (TX).
National Basketball League-United States: The new NBL-US, which was the combination of the seven-team Men's Professional Basketball League serving as a Gulf Coast Conference and the 12-team United Men's Basketball League serving as a North Conference, has suspended play in its inaugural 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. No games have been played since March 21 with teams playing only a few games in a season that was to run from February 21 to May 9. The NBL-US wants to provide opportunities for players to showcase their talents to leagues in Europe and Asia.
Canadian Football League: The CFL announced its 2020 season will not start before the beginning of July due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The 2020 pre-season games were scheduled to start on May 24 with the regular-season set to start on June 11.
Liga de Futbol Americano Profesional: Mexico's top professional American-style outdoor football league known as the LFA suspended play last month for its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Each of the eight LFA teams had played 5 of 10 scheduled games in a season that was to run from February 7 through April 26. The LFA had added a ninth team called the Pioneros de Queretaro in the off-season, but the Mayas de Ciudad de Mexico (Mexico City) team decided to sit out the 2020 season. The eight LFA teams were aligned in four-team North (Norte) and Central (Centro) divisions.
XFL: The eight-team XFL, whose teams played only 5 of 10 games in the league's inaugural springtime season before cancelling the remainder of the 2020 season last month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, has suspended all operations and it looks as if the league might not return for a second season in 2021.
National Hockey League: If the NHL can resume its 2020-21 season, the league is reported to be considering all games being played in North Dakota, with an arena in Grand Forks as one location.
Southern Professional Hockey League: The Danville (IL) Dashers of the Federal Prospects Hockey League are facing the prospect of having its lease terminated at the city's David Palmer Arena and a prospective ownership groups want to bring an SPHL franchise to the city. The Danville Dashers joined the FPHL as a 2011-12 expansion team.
USL League Two (United Soccer League): Since the pre-professional USL League Two has a short window for its season, usually May through mid-July, several teams have announced the cancellation of their entire 2020 seasons due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The entire six-team Northwest Division, which has teams in Oregon, Washington and Canada, announced it will not participate in the 2020 season. The Heartland Division's two Canadian teams called the Thunder Bay Chill and FC Manitoba (Winnipeg), along with the expansion Peoria City club, will not play in 2020. The other five Heartland Division teams are planning to participate in a non-official modified competition so some games could be played this summer. Other teams called the Asheville City SC and the West Virginia Alliance (Charleston) have cancelled their 2020 seasons and more teams are expected to follow.
Canadian Soccer League: The Ontario-based semi-pro CSL recently announced May 29 as a tentative start date for its 2020 season. The CSL operated last season with a ten-team First Division and a six-team Second Division.
National Women's Soccer League: The nine-team professional NWSL has extended its suspension of league-wide training and workouts for the 2020 season until May 9 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The season was set to start on April 18, 2020.
Premier Lacrosse League: The seven-team tour-based field lacrosse PLL announced it will postpone its 2020 season, which was to start on May 29 with a weekend event in Boston, due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The PLL will provide an update on the 2020 season next month.
National Lacrosse League: The 13-team indoor box-lacrosse NLL has cancelled the remaining games of its 2020 regular season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. On March 12, the league suspended play with teams having played 10 to 13 games of an 18-game schedule that was to end April 25 2020. The NLL will look at various scenarios for returning to play when the situation improves.
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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