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Roaring Bengals

Alternate professional sports leagues make for interesting spring, summer sports

Some sports leagues offer alternatives to mainstream entertainment.
Erin Fahringer
Some sports leagues offer alternatives to mainstream entertainment.

While most people know about the Big Four sports leagues, the NHL, NFL, MLB, NBA and many smaller leagues like the MLS and WNBA, there are a lot of other professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada that don’t get the same recognition as these.

For example, the Professional Womens Hockey League, started its first season in late 2023 and is currently in the first round of the playoffs. This six team league only had a 24 game regular season this year, but they have already announced their intention to have a 72 game season next year. 

The main criticism of this league is that none of the teams have names. While many would have preferred for them to wait another year and make names, league executives have had other opinions.

“When you come out with a team name, you want to have a full brand story, why the imagery and the logo, why the colors, why the name. And I just didn’t feel that we should rush it because you can’t walk back from it,” said Senior Vice President of League Operations, Amy Scheer, according to The Athletic.

Fans can watch PWHL games on local networks like Bally Sports North and MSGN, as well as the official PWHL Youtube Channel. 

Moving the opposite way, the Professional Lacrosse League just got team locations this year. In previous years the PLL didn’t have locations, just names, until this season. This worked fine since they only played at one stadium per week. It is a lot easier to grow a fan base when you have a location, because fans can root for the home team.The PLL decided that they were going to have locations in 2020 when they merged with Major League Lacrosse, who already had team locations since 2001. Fans can watch PLL games on ESPN, ESPN 2, and ESPN+.

Speaking of merging, a relatively new league that is the result of merging is the United Football League. The UFL is a combination of the USFL and the XFL, two spring football leagues that started in 2020 and 2021 respectively. The UFL is currently halfway through their season, being dominated by the Birmingham Stallions, who have not lost a game in 13 games, a streak that has spanned two seasons in two different leagues. 

An up and coming basketball league is the Canadian Elite Basketball League. The CEBL has been operating since 2019 and has already had multiple expansions and relocations through their short history. The CEBL takes a different approach to basketball than the NBA or NCAA Basketball. Instead of having a timer with quarters or halves, the CEBL sets a target score when there are four minutes left. For example if a team is leading 85-80, then the target score is 94 because the target is calculated by taking the highest score and adding nine.

“We will have 26 heroes for all 26 of our CEBL Summer Series games. It greatly enhances the viewing experience for fans, and the game experience for players and coaches,” said CEBL commissioner Mike Morreale via the CBC.

Fans can watch the CEBL with a free CEBL+ membership on the CEBL app and website.

With all of these new, alternate sports leagues, it will be impossible for sports fans to be bored this spring and summer.

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About the Contributors
Lucas Prestipino
Lucas Prestipino, Copy Editor
Erin Fahringer
Erin Fahringer, Photographer
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