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 United Football League

Weekly Sports League and Franchise Report

by Dan Krieger
July 1, 2024 - United Football League (UFL)


BASEBALL

National Alliance of College Summer Baseball: The 12 summer-collegiate baseball leagues that are members of the NACSB started their 2024 seasons in late May and early June. The NACSB is sanctioned by the NCAA and the non-profit leagues receive some funding from Major League Baseball. Leagues include the 14-team Atlantic Collegiate Baseball League, the 8-team Cal Ripken Collegiate Baseball League, the 12-team California Collegiate League, the 10-team Cape Cod League, the 6-team Florida Collegiate Summer League, the 7-team Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League, the 6-team Hamptons Collegiate Baseball League, the 13-team New England Collegiate Baseball League, the 11-team New York Collegiate Baseball League, the 8-team Southern Collegiate Baseball League, the 8-team Sunbelt Baseball League and the 12-team Valley League Baseball.

American Association: The Kane County Cougars of the independent American Association recently played a game as the Kane County Cicadas in a tribute to the insect that periodically emerges.

International League: The Norfolk (VA) Tides of the Triple-A International League played a game this week as the Norfolk Red Stockings as part of a Negro League Tribute Night to honor the city's historic Negro League team. The Tides also held a Turn Back the Clock Night this week and played a game as the Tidewater Tides, the team's previous name from 1963 through 1992.

Texas League: The Wichita Wind Surge of the Double-A Texas League played a game this weekend as the Wichita Wranglers as part of a Wranglers Throwback Night to honor the city's previous Texas League team that relocated to Springdale (AR) as the Northwest Arkansas Naturals after the 2007 season.

South Atlantic League: The Winston-Salem (NC) Dash of the High-A SAL recently played a game as the Winston-Salem Italian Beef in a tribute to this iconic sandwich from Chicago, the hometown of their Chicago White Sox parent club.

BASKETBALL

The Basketball League: The minor professional TBL is reported to be interested in possible Canadian expansion into New Brunswick with Saint John, Moncton, St. Stephen and Bathurst under consideration.

American Basketball Association: The men's semi-pro ABA announced teams called the Mississippi Delta Lucky Ducks (Greenville) and the Antelope Valley Bulls (Lancaster, CA) have been added for the 2024-25 season.

FOOTBALL

American Indoor Football: The AIF announced its proposed 2025 expansion team called the Beaumont (TX) Renegades has left the league to explore other opportunities for next season. Also, the AIF withdrew the membership of the Cedar Rapids (IA) River Kings franchise after only one season. A former co-owner of the River Kings announced plans to start a new team called the Cedar Rapids Power in another league.

United Football League: After completing its inaugural season with eight teams, it looks like the spring-season UFL will not be expanding for the 2025 season. The UFL wants to focus on its current markets in 2025 before considering expansion or relocation of teams to other markets.

HOCKEY

American Hockey League: The AHL's Tucson Roadrunners, whose owner recently sold the assets of the National Hockey League's Arizona Coyotes to the Utah Hockey Club, announced the team will play all 36 of its home games in Tucson for the 2024-25 season. Original plans had the team playing six home games in Tempe (AZ) at Mullett Arena, the Coyotes' former home. After recently signing a three-year agreement for the Roadrunners to remain in Tucson, several reports have the team eventually relocating to Reno (NV) where the Roadrunners' owner is involved in building a new hockey arena.

British Columbia Hockey League: The independent Junior-A BCHL recently announced its 2024-25 season schedule that will feature 21 teams each playing 54 games from September 20, 2024, through March 30, 2025. The league started last season with 17 teams aligned in a nine-team Coastal Division and an eight-team Interior Division but added a five-team Alberta Division midway through the season when 5 teams joined from the Alberta Junior Hockey League, and the BCHL finished with 22 teams. The BCHL has lost the Merritt Centennials team to the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League and underwent a realignment for its 21 teams. A Coastal Conference features five-team Coastal West and Coast East divisions while an Interior Conference has a five-team Interior West and a six-team Interior East.

Federal Prospects Hockey League: The single-A minor professional FPHL held a player draft this week to stock its three new expansion teams-Danville (IL) Dashers, Monroe (LA) Moccasins and Athens (GA) Rock Monsters-for the 2024-25 season. The FPHL has grown from 11 teams in a six-team Continental Division and a five-team Empire Division to 14 teams aligned in seven-team Continental and Empire divisions for 2024-25. Of the 11 teams returning from last season, the only change was the sale and relocation of the Elmira (NY) River Sharks to become the Hudson Valley Venom (Newburgh, NY).

National Hockey League: The future return of the NHL's Arizona Coyotes is in doubt after a land auction for the site of a proposed new arena in north Phoenix was cancelled because it was not properly zoned for the development. The owner of the Coyotes, whose assets were sold to the NHL's new Utah Hockey Club, had a five-year window to build a new arena for reactivation of the Arizona Coyotes. The Coyotes' owner has terminated his rights to reactivate the franchise and the market is considered open. The NHL retains the rights to all of the Coyotes' intellectual property.

North American Hockey League: The Tier-II junior-level NAHL announced its 2024-25 season schedule that will feature 35 teams aligned in an eight-team Central Division, a ten-team East Division, an eight-team Midwest Division and a nine-team South Division. The league had 32 teams last season but the NAHL added three new teams-the Watertown (SD) Shamrocks and Minnesota Mallards (Forest Lake) to the Central Division and the Elmira (NY) Aviators to the East Division. Each team will play 59 games from September 13, 2024, through April 12, 2025.

Western Hockey League: The WHL, which is one of three major-junior hockey leagues under the Canadian Hockey League, announced its 2024-25 schedule that will feature the same 22 teams playing 68 games from September 20, 2024, through March 23, 2025. The only change in the league alignment will be the move of the Swift Current Broncos (Saskatchewan) from the Central to the East Division. The Eastern Conference will have a five-team Central Division and a six-team East Division, while the Western Conference will have a five-team B.C. (British Columbia) Division and a six-team U.S. Division.

SOCCER

Major League Soccer: The Indianapolis Metropolitan Development Commission has approved a special tax district for the downtown site of a proposed MLS-style stadium. This move rescinds a previous special tax district designation for another downtown site where the owner of the Indy Eleven from the Division-II USL Championship was trying to build a soccer-specific stadium. The tax district still needs final approval from the state budget committee. The stadium is also dependent on MLS awarding the city a franchise.

Liga de Expansión MX: Mexico's second division Liga de Expansión MX, which completed its two-part 2023-24 season with 15 teams, has pulled out of a proposed merger with the 18-team Under-20 league operated by Mexico's top 18-team Liga MX. This merger was supposed to create a new Expansión Sub-23 league with over 30 teams. The start of the Apertura (opening) phase of the 2024-25 Liga de Expansion MX season is still uncertain but the Liga MX is moving forward with an affiliated Sub-23 (Under-23) league that will start next week with 18 teams. New investors recently bought into the top Liga MX that now plans to eliminate the process of promotion and relegation with the Liga de Expansión MX and eventually grow from 18 to 22 teams.

OTHER

League One Volleyball: The proposed women's professional indoor volleyball league known as LOVB, which developed out of the organization's network of various amateur volleyball clubs across the United States, announced it will start play with some exhibition matches in November and December with an inaugural season starting on January 6, 2025. The LOVB pro league will have six teams based in Atlanta, Austin, Houston, Madison (WI), Omaha and Salt Lake City and will be in competition with the Pro Volleyball Federation (PVF), which recently completed its inaugural 2024 season (January 24 through May 18) with seven teams. The LOVB will have teams competing with PVF teams in the markets of Atlanta and Omaha. The LOVB will own and operate all six teams and hopes to expand to eight teams by 2027.

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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