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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 4, 2020 - United Soccer League Championship (USL)

BASEBALL

Empire Baseball League: The six-team independent EBL announced it has moved its annual player tryout camp back to later next month due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The EBL regular-season usually starts in mid-June right after this camp, so the 2020 season will be pushed back to a start sometime in July.

Liga Mexican de Beisbol: Mexico's top professional baseball league known as the LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, could start play in July with the 2020 regular-season running into September and playoffs into November. This could push the start of the fall-season Liga Mexicana del Pacifico (LMP), or Mexican Pacific League, from September to November. The LMB's original 2020 season start in early April and an adjusted start on May 11 were pushed back due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Major League Baseball: The 30-team MLB is considering a start of its 2020 season in late June or early July with games played without fans. There has been discussion of teams playing at their home stadiums and being aligned into three geographic regions (East, Central and West) rather than the traditional American and National leagues. Each team would play a 100-game regular-season schedule.

Summer Collegiate Baseball: Several summer-collegiate baseball leagues made announcements this week on the status of their 2020 seasons due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The New England Collegiate Baseball League announced the cancellation of the entire 2020 season. The Coastal Plain League, the Prospect League and the Western Canada Baseball League have the delayed the start of their 2020 seasons until July 1, while the Expedition League, Futures Collegiate Baseball League, Texas Collegiate League and the New York Collegiate Baseball League simply announced postponements to the start of the their 2020 seasons.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association: The NBA wants to finish its 2019-20 season and several options are still being considered. The latest single-site option would have teams finish the season at Disney World's ESPN Wide World of Sports complex in Orlando.

Women's Universal Basketball Association: The WUBA, which played six seasons (2011-17) and was owned by the group that operates the men's semi-pro Universal Basketball Association, has been sold and the new ownership plans to restart the league this fall after a three-season absence. The WUBA will play its regular national schedule from October to December and play a Super League season from May to July for returning international players. The league is planning four conferences located in Atlanta, Oakland, New York City and Houston.

FOOTBALL

American Flag Football League: The AFFL, which has been trying to develop a franchise-based professional league, announced this week it is cancelling its 2020 tournament due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. In 2018 and 2019, the AFFL held a men's nationwide amateur tournament featuring regional competitions from late April to early June. These competitions narrowed the field to 16 teams participating in a July national championship that also featured a professional division of teams. The AFFL announced earlier this year it would be starting a women's division for the 2020 tournament.

National Gridiron League: The proposed 12-team NGL, which has been trying to get off the ground since 2019, officially announced it will not try to play in 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and will work on starting play in 2021. The NGL was organized as an indoor league and earlier this year announced plans to move toward becoming an eight-man outdoor football league.

Indoor Football League: The IFL's new Columbus (OH) expansion team that plans to start play in March 2021 announced a name-the-team contest in January 2020 with the team name to be announced on February 8, 2020. Due to the overwhelming response, the naming of the team was postponed so all suggestions could be considered and a team name has yet to be announced.

HOCKEY

Federal Prospects Hockey League: The Board of Directors for the arena in Danville (IL) voted to uphold the arena lease contract of the FPHL's Danville Dashers team. If the Dashers' lease was terminated, a prospective ownership group was interested in bringing a Southern Professional Hockey League team to the city.

United States Premier Hockey League: The Ogden (UT) Mustangs team, which was part of the 2019-20 junior-level Western States Hockey League (WSHL), has left the WSHL to join the Premier Division of the Tier-III junior-level USPHL for the 2020-21 season. A couple of weeks ago, eight other teams also left the WSHL to join the USPHL for the 2020-21 season.

North American 3 Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level NA3HL recently announced the New England Stars (Tyngsboro, MA) have relocated to Middletown (NJ) where the team will become the New Jersey Titans for the 2020-21 season. The NA3HL's Coulee Region Chill will not play in the 2020-21 season because the city of La Crosse (WI) closed its home arena due to maintenance costs.

American Hockey League: The National Hockey League's Carolina Hurricanes are close to moving its AHL affiliate from the Charlotte Checkers to the Chicago Wolves, which recently lost its affiliation with the NHL's Vegas Golden Knights when the Golden Knights purchased the AHL's San Antonio Rampage. If the Hurricanes' affiliation change goes through, the NHL's Florida Panthers would be left with the Checkers as its AHL affiliate.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: As an indication the 2020 MLS season could restart, players will be allowed to start training at their team's outdoor facilities next week and full team training could start after May 15.

USL Championship (United Soccer League): The United Soccer League stated its does not have a new date when the Division-II USL Championship and the Division-III USL League One will return. The USL extended the moratorium on team training through May 15 for both leagues.

USL League Two (United Soccer League): The 82-team pre-professional USL League Two has decided to cancel its entire 2020 season due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams are comprised of college athletes playing a 14-game schedule that typically runs from May to mid-July. USL League Two teams in some areas of the country might play regional exhibition schedules during the summer and fall months.

Women's Premier Soccer League: The 130-team elite-level WPSL announced it has cancelled the entire 2020 regular season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The WPSL is mainly an opportunity for college players to compete during the NCAA off-season. If the NCAA happens to postpone or cancel its upcoming soccer season, the WPSL is considering the creation of a fall season with some teams.

OTHER

Major League Quidditch: The mixed-gender MLQ announced it has pushed back the start of its sixth season until July 4, 2020 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The MLQ season usually runs from June through August and the 2020 season will be a condensed schedule through August. The MLQ currently lists 15 teams aligned in 3 five-team divisions. Quidditch is a competitive, full-contact sport played by athletes around the world and adapted from the game played in the Harry Potter series of books and movies. The MLQ game involves two seven-player teams with each player mounting a broomstick as they run up and down a field about the size of a hockey rink trying to score points by tossing a volleyball-like quaffle into one of three opposing team's hoops.

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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