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 American Association

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
May 13, 2024 - American Association (AA)


BASEBALL

American Association: The independent American Association, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, started its 2024 season this week with the same 12 teams as last season. The teams are again aligned in the same six-team East and West divisions. Each team will play a 100-game schedule through September 2, 2024.

Carolina League: With the move next season of the Low-A Carolina League's Down East Wood Ducks from Kinston (NC) to Spartanburg (SC), the team announced it will be renamed the Hub City Spartanburgers when it starts play in 2025 at a new ballpark that is currently under construction in downtown Spartanburg.

Fronter League: The independent Frontier League, which is a partner league with Major League Baseball, started its 2024 season this week and again has 16 teams aligned in eight-team East and West divisions. Teams will play a 96-game schedule through August 31. The only change this season was the addition of the expansion New England Knockouts (Brockton, MA) team to the East Division to replace the Empire State Greys travel-only team, which was operated by the independent developmental Empire State League and filled in as the league's 16th team for the past two seasons. The New England team was originally named the Chowdahheads before switching to the Knockouts.

Mavericks Independent Baseball League: The independent Mavericks League, which consists of the same four teams called the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes, Campesinos de Salem-Keizer, Salem Senators and Portland Mavericks, started its 2024 season this week with teams playing a 48-game schedule through August 25. All games will be played at Volcanoes Stadium in Keizer (OR). The owner of the Salem-Keizer Volcanoes created the league for the 2021 season. At that time, the Volcanoes had been part of the affiliated short-season Class-A Northwest League but the league was reorganized as a High-A league prior to the 2021 season under the restructuring of Minor League Baseball and the Volcanoes were not awarded a Major League affiliate in that league.

BASKETBALL

American Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro ABA announced teams called the Windy City Inferno (Chicago), Milwaukee Black Mambas and the Gary (IN) Black Panthers have been added as expansion teams for the 2024-25 season.

BIG3 League: The 12-team tour-based professional 3-on-3 BIG3 basketball league announced the upcoming 2024 season will be the last season with centrally operated teams. Starting next season, each of the 12 BIG3 teams will be under individual ownership as they transition to representing home markets. The league introduced the ownership for a new Los Angeles-based BIG3 team that will be one of the teams to start in 2025. The league plans to announce the remaining home markets and ownership groups this year. Two of the 12 BIG3 teams will be based in Toronto and London (England).

Women's National Basketball Association: The WNBA's San Francisco Bay Area expansion team, which is owned by the National Basketball Association's Golden State Warriors and will start play in 2025 as the league's 13th team, is expected to use "Golden State" in its name and have a nickname that is in some way related to the Warriors. Several reports this week indicated the WNBA is close to announcing Toronto as the location for the league's 14th team that would most likely start in 2026.

FOOTBALL

American Indoor Football: The AIF announced the Cedar Rapids (IA) River Kings will not complete its 2024 schedule of AIF games but will finish with non-league games that will not count in the AIF standings.

Arena Football League: As the reboot of the AFL headed into its third week of play, the league-owned Philadelphia Soul team was shut down and the future of other league-owned teams is uncertain. The AFL's Rapid City (SD) Marshals and Minnesota Myth (Minneapolis) cancelled games this weekend due to a lack of funds to pay player salaries or travel costs.

National Arena League: The NAL announced its Enid-based Oklahoma Flying Aces team will go dormant for the remainder of the 2024 season. The team recently changed ownership and had an 0-4 record this season. The Flying Aces were also dormant in 2023 as part of the Champions Indoor Football and joined the NAL this season. The NAL tried to stop the new Arena Football League's West Texas Desert Hawks (Odessa), which operated as the West Texas Warbirds in the NAL's 2023 season, from playing this season because the team left the NAL after only one season of a three-season contract. Although the NAL won an injunction over the Desert Hawks, the team and the NAL have reached a settlement agreement that will allow the Desert Hawks to continue playing in the Arena Football League.

HOCKEY

Eastern Hockey League: The Tier-III junior level EHL announced the Team Maryland (Odenton) club has been sold to the Boston Hockey Academy and the team will operate out of Tewksbury (MA) as the Boston Dukes starting with the EHL's 2024-25 season.

National Hockey League: The owner of the new Utah NHL franchise, formerly the Arizona Coyotes, announced 20 possible team names that will be up for first-round fan voting through May 22, followed by a second round of voting. The team will use "Utah" as part of its name and will play simply as "Utah" for the 2024-25 season with the new name introduced for the 2025-26 season. The names up for voting include the Black Diamonds, Blast, Blizzard, Canyons, Caribou, Freeze, Frost, Fury, Glaciers, Utah HC, Hive, Ice, Mammoth, Mountaineers, Outlaws, Powder, Squall, Swarm, Venom and Yeti.

SOCCER

Canadian Premier League: Canada's Division-2 professional CPL announced the first regular-season game of its new "On Tour" neutral-site series will be held in Kelowna (British Columbia) next month. The CPL plans to hold "On Tour" games in prospective new markets over the coming years as the eight-team league looks to double in size over the next ten years.

MLS NEXT Pro (Major League Soccer): A group of investors has identified a site in Albany (NY) where they want to build a new soccer stadium for a future MLS NEXT Pro team.

Major League Indoor Soccer: The men's MLIS, which recently purchased the co-ed National Indoor Soccer League and plans to start its own women's league, recently announced the addition of some new men's and women's teams for the 2024-25 season. The league's Colorado Bucks (Denver) will add a new women's team next season. The Summit City United (Fort Wayne), formerly the Fox United, will join the MLIS with both men's and women's teams. A men's team called Red Cedar FC (Lansing, MI) will also join the MLIS next season.

National Premier Soccer League: The 2024 season of the men's elite amateur NPSL is underway with 91 participating teams. The league consists of four geographic regions (a 26-team East, 28-team Midwest, 24-team South and a 13-team West) with each region further divided into two, three or four regional conferences. The NPSL season runs through July 6, 2024.

League1 Alberta: Canada's Division-3 pro-am League1 Alberta started its first full season of play this week with a seven-team Men's Division and a seven-team Women's Division. Each team will play a 12-game schedule through July 19, 2024. The league played an exhibition season last year with five-team men's and women's divisions.

USL League One (United Soccer League): The Division-III professional USL League One has granted a franchise to the Westchester Soccer Club, or Westchester SC, and the team is expected to start play at a renovated stadium in Mount Vernon (NY) for the 2025 season.

USL Super League (United Soccer League): The Dallas team in the new women's Division-I professional USL Super League will be called the Dallas Trinity FC when the league starts play in August 2024 with eight teams and follows the fall-to-spring international soccer calendar. The name is a tribute to the Trinity River that flows through the city. Of the league's eight teams, only the Washington (DC) team has yet to announce its name.

OTHER

TGL Golf (The Golf League): The proposed new indoor TGL Golf league, which originally planned 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), recently announced dates for its first three matches now starting in January 2025. The league ran into construction problems at the golf simulator last year and was forced to delay its start by a year. The league has finalized the names for all six teams that will be comprised of players from the PGA Tour. Teams include the Jupiter Links Golf Club (Jupiter, FL), Boston Common Golf, Atlanta Drive GC, Los Angeles Golf Club, New York Golf Club (New York City) and the Bay Area Golf Club (San Francisco).

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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