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Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
September 20, 2021 - NBA G League (G League)


BASEBALL

Minor League Baseball: Minor League Baseball (MiLB) announced it will continue its Copa de la Diversión (Fun Cup) in 2022 with 85 of the 120 affiliated MiLB teams participating. The Copa de la Diversión allows teams to salute their Latino communities by taking a relevant Latino nickname, along with corresponding uniforms, for select games during the season. The Copa de la Diversión started in 2018 with 33 teams and had 76 participating teams in the 2021 season.

Atlantic League: In the poll to determine the nickname for the independent Atlantic League's 2022 Staten Island (NY) expansion team, the proposed nicknames of Ferry Hawks and Harbor Heroes appear to be the leading choices of the seven names to choose from. The team name will be revealed sometime in October.

Triple-A East League: The Memphis Redbirds of the Triple-A East League played two weekend games last month, one as the Memphis Wet Ribs and one as the Memphis Dry Rubs, for fans to vote on which type of barbeque is better-with sauce (wet) or with spices (dry rub).

Western Association of Professional Baseball Clubs: The proposed independent Western Association recently stated the league lost about 18 months in its development due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, but it is still organizing for a start in 2022. The league currently lists only one team member called the Henderson (NV) Hoo.

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association G-League: The NBA G-League announced its two-part 2021-22 season schedule that will feature a Showcase Cup followed by a regular season with each team playing a 36-game schedule. The Showcase Cup will feature the G-League's 29 teams and the developmental prospects team called the Ignite aligned in four regional pods with eight teams advancing to a single-elimination tournament. The league's expansion team called the Mexico City Capitanes (Capitanes de la Ciudad Mexico) and the Ignite team will only participate in the Showcase Cup, and the regular-season portion of the season will feature 28 G-League teams. The Mexico City Capitanes will play its 12 Showcase Cup games in six cities in the United States due to coronavirus (COVID-19) travel restrictions. The Ignite travel team plans to schedule additional games after its Showcase Cup games.

Maximum Basketball League: The semi-pro MBL announced its 2021 season will start on October 2. The league currently lists 30 teams aligned in 4 regional divisions (North, Northeast, South and Southeast).

The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL announced an expansion team called the Southern Indiana Timberjacks, based in Medora about 60 miles north of Louisville (KY), has been added.

FOOTBALL

Indoor Football League: The IFL's Quad City Steamwheelers (Moline, IL) confirmed the team will return for the 2022 season after sitting idle for two seasons. The IFL cancelled its 2020 season due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the Steamwheelers team was one of a few IFL teams that decided to go dormant for the 2021 season.

United Football League: The proposed new UFL, which is billed as America's premier spring football league and looks like a remake of the failed National Gridiron League (NGL), has added the Richmond Iron Horses, Birmingham Steeldawgs and Houston Bighorns for its inaugural 2022 season that will feature eight-man outdoor football. Two of the proposed NGL teams were the Houston Bighorns and a Roanoke-based team called the Virginia Iron Horses. The UFL now lists 12 teams aligned in 4 three-team divisions.

Women's Football Alliance: The WFA, which completed its 2021 season with 7 teams at a Division-1 level, 12 teams at a Division-2 level and 30 teams at a Division-3 level, is planning an WFA International Division Program. The WFA International has formed partnerships with established leagues in the Netherlands and Costa Rica and developing programs in Columbia, Egypt and Ecuador. The WFA International Division plans to create a Team World international travel team and create "Sister City" partnerships between WFA teams and other international teams.

XFL: The owner of the Salt Lake City Senate team in the semi-pro Gridiron Developmental Football League wants to form an alliance to try to bring an XFL or a National Football League team to Utah.

HOCKEY

Federal Prospects Hockey League: The group trying to bring an FPHL team to Biloxi (MS) is sponsoring a fan fest next month to draw attention to the three FPHL regular-season neutral-site games to be played in Biloxi this December. The proposed Biloxi ownership group is apparently interested in naming the team the Mississippi Sea Wolves, which was a former ECHL team that played 11 seasons in the league between 1996 and 2009.

Premier Hockey Federation: The founder of Women's Pro Hockey Seattle wants to bring a Seattle team to the women's professional PHF within three to six years. This effort hopes to get a boost from the arrival of the National Hockey League's Seattle Kraken this fall.

SOCCER

National Independent Soccer Association: The Tier-III professional NISA announced a switch in its annual season from a fall/spring season, which was in line with international schedules, to a spring/fall season, which will be in line with the United States soccer landscape. The current fall season that was to be part of the 2021-22 fall/spring season will be considered a standalone 2021 fall season with the new spring/fall season starting in 2022. The NISA also announced a new team called the Phoenix-based Valley United FC has been approved and will be added to the pro league starting with the 2022 season. The Valley United FC currently operates a team in the amateur-level United Premier Soccer League.

USL Championship (United Soccer League): Renovations have gotten underway at Cardinale Stadium in Seaside (CA) that will be home to the Monterey Bay FC Union, which will be a 2022 expansion team in the Division-II professional USL Championship.

USL W-League (United Soccer League): The new pre-professional USL W-League announced the Brooklyn-based FA Euro New York (Euro Youth Football Association) as its 16th team for the league's inaugural season that will start in the spring of 2022. The FA Euro New York club has had a men's team in the pre-professional USL League Two since the 2013 season.

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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