Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
May 11, 2020 - NBA G League (G League)
Pecos League: The independent Pecos League was having problems with teams dropping out of the 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, so the six-team Mountain Division will not play in 2020 but will return with games in their hometowns in 2021. The league has created a Central Division of five teams (Garden City Wind, Roswell Invaders, Santa Fe Fuego, Trinidad Triggers and Tucson Saguaros), which will take the nicknames of five of the six Mountain Division teams. These teams will each play a 36-game schedule at a complex in Houston without fans starting on July 1, 2020. The league's Pacific Division of teams will attempt to play its abbreviated 2020 season in September and October.
Liga Mexicana de Beisbol: Mexico's top professional baseball league known as the LMB, or Mexican Baseball League, reported investors are interested in returning an LMB team to Veracruz for the 2021 season. The LMB had a recent team called the Rojos del Aguila de Veracruz that relocated to Nuevo Laredo (Tamaulipas) and Laredo (TX) for the 2018 season. The team was renamed the Tecolotes de los Dos Laredos (The Owls of Two Laredos) and it splits its home schedule between the two cities.
Pacific Association of Professional Baseball Clubs: The four-team Northern California-based independent PAPBC announced its 2020 season, which was to start play early next month, has been postponed due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. No proposed start date was announced.
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 York Collegiate Baseball League and the Perfect Game Collegiate Baseball League announced the cancellation of their 2020 seasons. The Northwoods League postponed its start indefinitely. The West Coast League delayed its start until July, but only 7 of its 12 teams agreed to play this season. The Florida Collegiate Summer League will start on June 30 and will split into a Division 1 and a Division 2 for the 2020 season.
National Basketball Association G-League: The NBA G-League announced the creation of a new developmental "Select Team" comprised of players right out of high school, along with some G-League veterans trying to get back to the NBA. This team will be a stepping stone to a professional career and will not be affiliated with a G-League or NBA team. For now, the "Select Team" will play a travel-heavy schedule, but it could evolve into a division of the G-League with multiple teams playing each other.
The Basketball League: The professional TBL announced the Syracuse Stallions have been added as a 2021 expansion team along with the previously announced Little Rock Lightning. The Stallions have been part of the lower-level American Basketball Association for the past two years and will fit in with other northeastern TBL teams in Jamestown (NY), Albany (NY) and Newark (NJ). The TBL had to cancel the second half of its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but expects all 12 of the 2020 teams to return in 2021.
Florida Basketball Association: The semi-pro FBA announced the addition of a team called the Gainesville Mighty Oaks for its upcoming 2020 season. The FBA hopes to play its spring-summer season after a delayed start due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced the Seattle Transformers will be an expansion team in the 2020-21 season. The league also announced its Pottstown (PA) Flames team has come under new ownership and was renamed the Pottstown Power.
Big3 League: The 12-team BIG3 professional 3-on-3 touring basketball league announced it will postpone the start of its fourth season, which was to start with its first event on June 20, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The BIG3 could move its season to the fall or winter later this year. The BIG3 will also delay the start of a proposed 3-on-3 pre-season reality show until August or September.
American West Football Conference: The four-team AWFC wants to eventually play its 2020 season that was supposed to run from mid-March through June. The AWFC stated it has been contacted by the Spokane Shock of the Indoor Football League, which has cancelled its entire 2020 season, about possibly playing some exhibition games against AWFC teams this year.
XFL: Although the eight-team XFL filed for bankruptcy last month, the league is reported to be up for sale with formal bids due by July 6, 2020.
National Hockey League: Rather than complete the 189 games left on its 2019-20 season schedule, the 31-team NHL is reported to be considering going directly to a 24-team Stanley Cup tournament with all games played in a single location without fans to close out the 2019-20 season.
North American Hockey League: The St. Cloud (MN) Blizzard of the Tier-II junior-level NAHL has changed its name to the St. Cloud Norsemen ahead of the 2020-21 season. The team was formerly the Brookings (SD) Blizzard that moved to St. Cloud before the most recent 2019-20 season.
North American 3 Hockey League: The current team list for the Tier-III junior-level NA3HL includes 31 teams, but it does not include some teams from last season called the Breezy Point (MN) North Stars, Maine Wild (Biddeford) and the Skylands Kings (Dover, NJ).
Major League Soccer: With a few MLS teams starting some training activities this week, there is a possibility the league will restart its 2020 season in June or July with all games initially played in Orlando before moving to individual home venues. There is also a two-city plan under consideration.
United Women's Soccer: The elite-level pro-am UWS announced a Detroit-based team called Corktown AFC has joined the Midwest Conference for the 2020 season, whenever play starts. Corktown AFC will also operate a team in the new reserve league called the UWS League Two.
USL Championship (United Soccer League): A proposed development in Providence (RI) is moving forward on plans to build a 7,500-seat soccer stadium for a Division-II professional USL Championship team. The group has received an extension until May 31 for exclusive negotiating rights with the city.
USL Academy League (United Soccer League): The USL announced its new elite pre-professional USL Academy League for top local players within the 15 to U-19 age range will start play in 2021. Each team will have a direct connection to a team in the Division-II USL Championship, Division-III USL League One or the U-23 pre-professional USL League Two. The USL Academy League held a 14-team Western Conference tournament in October 2019 and a 12-team Eastern Conference tournament in February 2020.
National Women's Soccer League: The professional NWSL's new Louisville expansion team, which was originally announced as the Proof Louisville FC and recently stated it would consider a new name, has filed a trademark registration for Racing Louisville FC as a possible team name.
National Independent Soccer Association: The Division-III professional NISA announced the cancellation of its inaugural 2020 Spring Season, which was to run from late February to mid-June, due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The NISA had postponed the season in early March with its eight teams each having played only one or two games. The NISA also announced the addition of the New York Cosmos (New York City) and the New Amsterdam FC (Bronx) for its 2020 Fall Season to start in August. The league is also planning a NISA Independent Cup competition this summer with current NISA teams and some high-level amateur teams like the Little Rock Rangers, Soda City FC (Columbia, SC), Omaha Bugeaters and Fort Worth Vaqueros under consideration.
Premier Lacrosse League: The seven-team tour-based field lacrosse PLL, which was to start with its first weekend event in Boston on May 29, 2020, has cancelled its tour for this season. The league will instead play a two-week quarantined and fan-less championship tournament from July 25 to August 9, 2020. During the first week, the PLL's seven teams will compete in a fourteen-game group play format to determine the seeding for the next week's single-elimination tournament. No location for the two-week tournament was announced.
World TeamTennis: The nine-team WTT announced it will play its three-week 2020 season at one venue in one city due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The WTT is scouting out cities to host the tournament and hopes to start its season as originally planned on July 12.
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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