Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report
by Dan Krieger
November 13, 2023 - National Women's Soccer League (NWSL)
American Association: The independent American Association, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, announced its 2024 season schedule will feature the same 12 teams as last season and will again be aligned in six-team East and West divisions. Each team will play a 100-game schedule from May 9 through September 2, 2024.
Atlantic League: The independent Atlantic League, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, held a dispersal draft for players from the Spire City Ghost Hounds team (Frederick, MD), which is sitting out the 2024 season. The league recently added the expansion Hagerstown (MD) Flying Boxcars team to remain at ten teams for the 2024 season and Hagerstown selected first in the draft.
Mid-America League: The proposed new summer-collegiate Mid-America League, which plans to start play in 2024 with six teams based in Oklahoma, Arkansas, Texas, and Louisiana, announced its third team will be based in White Oak (TX) and will use "Piney Woods" in its name for the area in East Texas. Abilene (TX) and Sherman (TX) were previously announced as the league's first two markets.
The Basketball League: The men's minor professional TBL announced a new owner has taken over the Huntsville (AL) market and a new team called the Rocket City Flight will be part of the TBL's 2024 season. The league had a team called the Huntsville Hurricanes for the past two seasons. The league's Dallas Skyline team, which played three seasons (2020-22) and sat out the 2023 season, has merged with the league's Rockwall (TX) 7ers to form the Texas 7ers for the 2024 season. The Rockwall 7ers team has been part of the TBL for the past two seasons (2022-23). After playing only the 2023 season, the league's Orlando-based Central Florida Force has relocated to Bridgeport (CT) as the Connecticut Crusaders.
National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): The NBA's developmental G-League started its 2023-24 season this week with 31 teams each playing a 50-game schedule through March 30, 2024. The season begins with a 16-game Showcase Cup tournament in November and December with teams aligned in four regions. After the Showcase Cup championship, team records are reset for a 34-game regular season with teams aligned in a 15-team Eastern Conference and a 16-team Western Conference. The G-League had 30 teams last season but the NBA's Portland Trail Blazers added a new G-League team called the Rip City Remix, which was added to the Western Conference and will play on the campus of the University of Portland in North Portland. Last season's Lakeland (FL) Magic relocated to become the Osceola (FL) Magic for 2023-24. The Indiana Pacers moved their Fort Wayne Mad Ants affiliate to Indianapolis as the Indiana Mad Ants for the 2023-24 season. The groundbreaking was held this week for a new arena in Noblesville (IN) for the Mad Ants team, which will receive a new name when it moves there for the 2025-26 season. With the addition of Portland, the G-League is up to 31 teams, which includes two unaffiliated teams-the G-League Ignite and the Mexico City Capitanes. Of the 30 NBA teams, only the Phoenix Suns do not currently have a G-League affiliate.
Arena Football League: The third version of the AFL, which restarts play in 2024, announced a team called the Philadelphia Soul has joined as the league's 15th team. Previous teams called the Philadelphia Soul played five seasons (2004-08) in the original AFL and nine seasons (2011-19) in the second version of the AFL.
American Indoor Football: The AIF's new Albany (GA) expansion team is listed as the Flint Rivergators, named after the Flint River that runs through the city.
Indoor Football League: The professional IFL announced its 2024 season schedule will feature 16 teams aligned in eight-team Eastern and Western conferences. The league had 14 teams last season but added two former National Arena League teams-the Jacksonville Sharks to the Eastern Conference and the San Antonio Gunslingers to the Western Conference. The league's Massachusetts Pirates announced the team will move from Worcester to Lowell starting with the 2024 season. Each team will play a 16-game schedule from March 16 through July 21, 2024. The Bismarck (ND) Bucks team, which joined the IFL in 2019 and was inactive last season, announced it will host a 2024 IFL regular season game in April 2024 as the team works to return to the league for the 2025 season.
Federal Prospects Hockey League: The single-A minor professional FPHL announced the Motor City Rockers (Fraser, MI) and the Blue Ridge Bobcats (Wytheville, VA) have switched positions in the divisional alignment for the remainder of the 2023-24 season. Motor City was moved from the Continental to the Empire Division and Blue Ridge from the Empire to the Continental Division.
Pacific Junior Hockey League: Canada's British Columbia-based Junior-A Tier 2 PJHL will be adding a new team for the 2024-25 season in Gibsons (British Columbia), which is located in the area known as the Sunshine Coast. The new PJHL team is expected to announce its name next month.
Union Hockey League: The proposed new Senior-A semi-pro UHL, which was originally called the North Eastern Hockey League, recently added 4 more teams and has grown to 16 teams for its inaugural 2023-24 season. The Eastern Division increases to eight teams with the addition of the Conway (NH) Yetis and Vermont Loggers (Waterbury), while the Western Division increases to eight teams with the addition of the Cincinnati Pilots and West Michigan Sentinels (Holland).
Major Arena Soccer League 2: The MASL2 (M2), which is the second-division league to the Major Arena Soccer League, currently lists a 16-team alignment with four-team East, North, Midwest, and West divisions. Last season there were 15 teams aligned in four-team North, five-team Midwest, six-team West divisions but 5 teams are now listed as inactive while 6 new teams and a new East Division were added for 2023-24. The inactive teams include the Colorado Inferno FC (Colorado Springs), Chihuahua Savage II, Club Deportivo de Baja California, Rio Grande Valley Barracudas FC, and San Diego Sockers 2. New teams include the Baltimore Arsenal, United Elite Krajisnik FC (Utica, NY), and Atletico Orlando in the East; the St. Louis Ambush 2 in the North; and Deportivo Romina (Tijuana), and El Paso Rhinos FC in the Midwest. Teams will play a 12-game schedule within their divisions but Atletico Orlando will play all road games and the St. Louis Ambush 2 will play only 3 of 12 games at home in 2023-24.
National Women's Soccer League: The Division-I professional NWSL announced an expansion draft will be held on December 15, 2023, to stock the league's new 13th and 14th teams called the Bay FC (San Francisco Bay Area) and Utah Royals FC (Salt Lake City) that will start play in the 2024 season. The league previously announced the 15th team will be located in Boston and will start in 2026. The NWSL commissioner confirmed this week the league will start the process to select a city for its 16th team. The league reported there are over a dozen qualified investor groups expressing interest but there are no leading candidates and no specific cities were mentioned.
USL League One (United Soccer League): The new Brooklyn (NY) expansion team in the men's Division-III professional USL League One announced the team will be called the Brooklyn FC (BKFC) when it starts play in the 2025 season.
Women's Premier Soccer League: The elite amateur WPSL recently announced new teams called the Merrimack Valley Hawks FC (Boston), The Town FC (California), and Greater Toledo FC have joined for the 2024 season. The WPSL is moving forward on its proposed Division-III professional WPSL PRO for a possible start in 2025. The WPSL's Oklahoma City FC, Sioux Falls (SD) City FC, SouthStar FC (Fort Worth), Austin Rise FC and the expansion The Town FC have signed letters of intent to advance to the new professional league when it starts play.
National Lacrosse League: The men's professional indoor NLL is looking to expand its fan base and has initiated a new "UnBOXed" grassroots effort to introduce its fast-paced lacrosse game to young boys and girls in nine non-NLL markets in Canada and the United States. Each market has received a unique identity to be used to market the program: Castors de Montreal, Charlotte Cobras, Minnesota Lake Dragons (Minneapolis-St. Paul), Baltimore Ghost Crabs, Ottawa Electrics, St. Louis Rhythm, Tampa Bay Snowbirds, Seattle Shipwrecks, and Utah Spikes. The first phase called "NLL UnBOXed at School" will introduce a lacrosse-based physical education curriculum based on the 3-on-3 SPEED lacrosse game and provide lacrosse equipment to elementary and middle-aged boys and girls in each market. The NLL hopes to expand the program to other cities across North America.
Pro Volleyball Federation: The new PVF indoor women's professional volleyball league announced its San Diego-based team will be called the San Diego Mojo when the inaugural season starts in January 2024 with seven teams. The league also announced an expansion team in Kansas City (MO) has been awarded for a start in 2025. Another 2025 expansion team in Dallas was previously announced.
TGL Golf (The Golf League): The new indoor TGL Golf league, which plans to start play in January 2024 with six teams playing all matches at a 2,000-seat custom-built virtual indoor golf course simulator in Palm Beach Gardens (FL), announced its sixth and final team will be the Jupiter Links Golf Club (Jupiter, FL). The league also announced the Boston team will be called the Boston Common Golf. Other teams include the Atlanta Drive GC and Los Angeles Golf Club, along with yet-to-be-named teams represented by groups from San Francisco and New York City.
Dan Krieger is the creator of the Weekly Sports League & Franchise Report, which has been tracking the changes in the sports world's leagues, teams, and nicknames since April 2007.
• Discuss this story on the National Women's Soccer League message board...
National Women's Soccer League Stories from November 13, 2023
- Orlando Pride Acquires $50,000 in Allocation Money and Expansion Protection from Bay FC - Orlando Pride
- Bay FC Acquires Orlando Pride's First Round Draft Pick in the 2024 NWSL Draft - Bay FC
- Louisville Mega Cavern Tickets to Benefit LouCity & Racing Foundation - Racing Louisville FC
- Kansas City Current Defender Gabrielle Robinson Signs New Three-Year Contract - Kansas City Current
- Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report - OSC Original by Dan Krieger
The opinions expressed in this article are those of the writer(s), and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.