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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
June 15, 2020 - Champions Indoor Football (CIF)

BASEBALL

American Association: The 12-team independent American Association announced it will have a 2020 season with 6 teams playing games out of 3 "hubs" - the home stadiums for its Fargo-Moorhead RedHawks, Milwaukee Milkmen and Sioux Falls Canaries teams. The league's Winnipeg Goldeyes will also operate out of the Fargo hub, the Chicago Dogs will operate out of the Milwaukee hub, and the St. Paul Saints will operate out of the Sioux Falls hub. Each team will play a 60-game schedule from July 3 to September 10, 2020. The league's six other teams will not play in 2020, but plan to return in 2021.

Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League will announce next week its plans for the 2020 season, but those will not include its only western team, the Houston area's Sugar Land Skeeters. The Skeeters announced a new four-team professional league will operate out of its home at Constellation Field with each team playing a 28-game schedule from July 3 to August 23, 2020. Teams will be comprised of former major leaguers, minor leaguers and independent league veterans. The Skeeters have been mentioned as possibly becoming an affiliated team under the proposed reorganization of Minor League Baseball.

Northwest League: The eight-team Class-A short-season Northwest League, which was supposed to start play next week, has delayed its 2020 season indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

New York-Penn League: The 14-team Class-A short-season NYPL, which was supposed to start play next week, has delayed its 2020 season indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Appalachian League (APPY): The ten-team Advanced Rookie short-season APPY league, which was supposed to start play on June 22, has delayed its 2020 season indefinitely due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Northwoods League: The summer-collegiate Northwoods League announced a new regional Wisconsin-Illinois pod of six teams called the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, Green Bay Booyah, La Crosse Loggers, Rockford Rivets, Wisconsin Rapids Rafters and Wisconsin Woodchucks will play games against each other from July 1 through August 20, 2020. Additional teams could be added as the season continues.

Coastal Plain League: The summer-collegiate CPL will start regional play on July1 with three of its teams called the Savannah (GA) Bananas, Macon (GA) Bacon and Lexington County (SC) Blowfish. Some of the leagues other teams in North Carolina and Virginia are waiting for easing of state restrictions before starting play. At least four CPL teams will not play this season, but plan to return in 2021.

Texas Collegiate League: The summer-collegiate TCL announced it will have ten teams made up of college players from across the nation. Teams will play a 30-game schedule from June 30 to August 2. Four current TCL teams called the Acadiana Cane Cutters (Lafayette, LA), Brazos Valley Bombers (Bryan-College Station, TX), Texarkana (TX) Twins and Victoria (TX) Generals will be joined by five affiliated minor league organizations hosting six teams. The Double-A Texas League's Tulsa Drillers and Frisco (TX) RoughRiders will have TCL teams using those names, while the league's Amarillo Sod Poodles will have two teams called the Amarillo Sod Squad and Amarillo Sod Dogs. The Triple-A Pacific Coast League's San Antonio Missions and Round Rock Express will field TCL teams called the San Antonio Flying Chanclas and Round Rock Hairy Men. Teams will be aligned in five-team North and South divisions.

West Coast League: Although the summer collegiate WCL is not holding an official 2020 season, some current and former teams will play weekend games in Portland (OR) from July through August in what will be called the Wild West League.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The semi-pro ABA announced it will return for a 2020-21 season starting on November 7, 2020. The league will be realigned with the United States split into East and West regions. The Northeast, Mid-Atlantic and Southeast divisions will be part of the East and the North Central, South Central and Far West divisions will be part of the West.

Maximum Basketball League: Although the semi-pro MBL did not play a 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, the league is still planning a fall season starting in October 2020 and it recently announced the addition of a new team called the Waco Terror.

The Basketball League: As the TBL prepares for a return in 2021, the league recently announced it will add a third 2021 expansion team that will be located in Indiana with the exact city still to be announced.

FOOTBALL

Champions Indoor Football: The seven-team CIF decided to cancel its entire 2020 season without playing a game due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams were originally scheduled to play 12 games from mid-March through June.

National Arena League: The seven-team NAL announced the cancellation of its entire 2020 season without playing a game due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Teams were originally scheduled to play 12 to 13 games from April 4 to July 18, 2020.

HOCKEY

United States Premier Hockey League: The Tier-III junior-level USPHL announced a new team called the Provo (UT) Riverblades has been added to the 2020-21 USPHL Premier Division. The team will be part of a new Mountain Conference, which will include four teams called the Northern Colorado Eagles (Greeley), Pueblo (CO) Bulls, Utah Outliers (West Valley City) and the Ogden (UT) Mustangs that all left the Western States Hockey League after the 2019-20 season to join the USPHL.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: MLS announced plans to restart the 2020 season that will include all 26 teams playing without fans in an "MLS is Back Tournament" at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex in Orlando. For group play in the tournament, an Eastern Conference will have a six-team group and two four-team groups and the Western Conference will have three four-team groups. Nashville SC was moved to the Eastern Conference to even out the groups in the tournament. Each team will play three group-play games starting on July 8 with knockout rounds and a championship match running through mid-August.

National Independent Soccer Association: The men's Division-III professional NISA recently announced the format for its 2020 Fall Season. The NISA started its 2020 Spring Season in late February with eight teams, but play was suspended on March 12 due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic with teams having played only one or two games. The Fall Season will feature Regionalized Competition with an Eastern Conference of teams starting play in early August and a Western Conference of teams starting play in early September. A single-location tournament will be held in late October to determine a Fall Season champion.

United Women's Soccer: The 25-team pro-am UWS announced this week the cancellation of a full 2020 season due to the effects of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. A few days later, the UWS announced it will hold a National Cup tournament in Round Rock (TX) from July 9 to July 17, 2020. As of now, this will feature seven teams—four Texas-based teams called the Bat Country FC, CTX Hornets, Dallas International, and FC Austin Elite, along with out-of-state UWS teams called the Lancaster (PA) Inferno, Santa Clarita (CA) Blue Heat and the Worcester (MA) Smiles. The UWS also announced its new lower-level League Two will start play next week, but it will only include the Southeast Conference with all four Florida-based teams each playing a six-game schedule. The new UWS League Two was originally to include a five-team Michigan Conference and a four-team Southwest Conference.

OTHER

Premier Lacrosse League: Although the seven-team tour-based professional PLL was unable to hold its second season of weekend events across the country this summer, the league will hold a three-week PLL Championship Series without fans at a single location in the Salt Lake City area from July 25 to August 9. Teams will each play two games in a week of group play followed by eliminations rounds leading to a championship game.

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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