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 NBA G League

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
February 26, 2024 - NBA G League (G League)


BASEBALL

Appalachian League (Appy League): The ownership of the Danville (VA) Otterbots and the Burlington (NC) Sock Puppets from the summer-collegiate Appy League, which operates under the Major League Baseball and USA Baseball Prospect Development Pipeline, announced plans to operate additional teams in both cities in 2024 as part of an existing North Carolina-based summer-collegiate league called the Old North State League (ONSL). These yet-to-be-named teams will play partial schedules as part of the ONSL in 2024 with plans to become full members in 2025. In addition to their 24 home games as part of the Appy League schedule, Danville and Burlington will each host ONSL teams for 12 home games when their respective Appy League team is on the road.

Mid-America League: After recently announcing Texarkana (TX) as the location for its fifth team, the new summer-collegiate MAL has added Joplin (MO) for its sixth team in the inaugural 2024 season. The league's four other named teams are the Abilene (TX) Flying Bison, Sherman (TX) Sandcats, Fort Smith (AR) Marshals and the Piney Wood TimberHogs (White Oak, TX).

South Atlantic League: The Hudson Valley Renegades (Wappingers Falls, NY) of the high-A SAL will play a game in August of the 2024 season as the Newburgh Gorhams, which was the name of one of the first all-black professional baseball teams in the United States and located in nearby Newburgh (NY).

BASKETBALL

National Basketball Association Gatorade League (G-League): The NBA commissioner stated the league will be evaluating the future of the NBA G-League's Team Ignite, which was created in 2000 as a development program for potential NBA draft prospects to be paid to play basketball until meeting the age requirement to play in the NBA. With some of these draft-eligible college prospects now being able to be compensated while in college as part of the name, image and likeness (f) program, the need for the NBA development program has been reduced and Team Ignite's quality of play has suffered.

FOOTBALL

American Indoor Football: With less than a month until the start of the 2024 season, the AIF announced the Albany (GA) Rivergators, also referred to as the Flint Rivergators for the Flint River that flows through Albany, have been removed from the 2024 schedule because the team has been unable to secure a home arena lease. The league will move forward with six teams in the 2024 season, while the Flint Rivergators are now listed as a 2025 expansion team.

National Arena League: The NAL's Topeka Tropics team, whose membership was recently revoked for non-payment of league dues, is still looking for new ownership to save the team for the 2024 season. A prospective new owner with whom the league was in discussions has apparently decided not to move forward.

Great Lakes Arena Football: The semi-pro GLAF plans to start its 2024 season next month and now lists seven team members-the Battle Creek (MI) Smoke, Detroit Knights (originally the Detroit Dark Knights), Michigan Avengerz (Farmington, MI), Ohio Doom (Dayton), Toledo Extreme Shamrocks, West Michigan Ironmen (Muskegon) and the recently added Tri-State Bucks (Pioneer, OH), which were part of the Midwest Arena Football League and represent the states of Ohio, Indiana and Michigan.

HOCKEY

North American Hockey League: The city of Watertown (SD) has approved a lease agreement for a junior hockey team in the Tier-II NAHL to play at the city's new Prairie Lakes Ice Arena. The league still needs to approve the ownership of the Watertown team. The new team is expected to be called the Watertown Lakers after the local youth and prep hockey organization and will be added to the league's Central Division.

Union Hockey League: The new Senior-A semi-pro UHL, which is currently playing its inaugural 2024 season with 12 teams throughout Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, New York and Massachusetts and aligned in 2 six-team divisions, recently announced big plans to expand coast-to-coast with 48 teams aligned in 4 regional conferences next season.

SOCCER

Liga de Balompié Mexicano: Mexico's independent men's professional LBM (Mexican Football League), which is part of the Asociación Nacional de Balompié Mexicano (ANBM), started the first part of its 2024 season last week with ten teams aligned in five team groups (Grupo 1 and Grupo 2). Of the 12 teams from the last part of the 2023 season, the RED (Rumbo a la Excelencia Deportiva) of Mexico City, Condor F.C. (Cuantinchan, Puebla) and Lobos CARH (Teoloyucan, State of Mexico) did not return but the league added the Futbol Club Albiazul (Tultitlan, State of Mexico). Each LBM team will play ten games through April. The LBM's Second Division (Segunda División del Balompié Mexicano) started play this week with seven teams.

Liga de Balompié Mexicano Femenil: Mexico's independent women's professional LBMF (Women's Mexican Football League), which is part of the Asociación Nacional de Balompié Mexicano (ANBM), started its inaugural 2024 season this week with four teams located in the state of Mexico. These include Toros México (Cuautitlan), Futbol Club Albiazul (Tultitlan), Industriales Tultepec and Mirandas FC (Cuautitlan).

Major League Soccer: The Division-I MLS started its 2024 season this week with the same 29 teams as last season and again aligned in a 15-team Eastern Conference and a 14-team Western Conference. Each team will play a 34-game regular-season schedule through October 19, 2024. In addition, all teams will participate in the Leagues Cup tournament during July and August with the 18 teams from Mexico's Liga MX. MLS teams will also be part of the U.S Open Cup tournament during the 2024 season. In May 2023, MLS granted its 30th franchise to San Diego and San Diego FC will start in the 2025 season.

National Independent Soccer Association: The NISA Nation league, which is the amateur affiliate of the men's Division-III professional NISA, recently announced the addition of a new four-team Western New York Region for the 2024 season. Teams will include the Roc City Boom (Rochester), United Elite Krajisnik FC (Utica), Binghamton FC and the Sahara Gunners (Buffalo). The NISA Nations also announced the ASC Silicon Valley (Redwood City, CA) has been added to the league's Pacific Division for the 2024 season.

OTHER

National Lacrosse League: The indoor NLL announced the ownership of the league's New York Riptide will be relocating the team from Long Island to Ottawa (Ontario) as the Ottawa Black Bears for the 2024-25 season. The New York Riptide was an NLL expansion team for the 2019-20 season. Ottawa will become the 15-team league's sixth team based in Canada. The NLL had a previous team called the Ottawa Rebel, which was the relocated Syracuse Smash, for three seasons (2000-03) before suspending operations. That franchise was eventually purchased and became the Edmonton Rush in 2005. The NLL has had two other former Long Island teams-the New York Saints (1989-2003) and the New York Titans (2006-09).

League One Volleyball: The proposed women's professional indoor volleyball league known as LOVB, which will start play in November 2024 with six teams based in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Madison (WI), Omaha and Salt Lake City, announced it will hold an in-season LOVB Classic tournament over the President's Day Weekend in February 2025. The tournament will take place at the Municipal Arena in Kansas City (MO) and will feature all six teams playing a winner-take-all competition over three days.

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.


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