Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada

major leaguemajor professional sports leaguemajor professional sports leaguesmajor professional sportsmajor sportsNorth American professional sportsBig Fourmajor league sportsmajor North American professional sports leaguesfour major professional sports leagues
The major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in those countries.wikipedia
761 Related Articles

National Basketball Association

NBABasketball Association of AmericaNational Basketball Association (NBA)
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL).
The NBA is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

National Hockey League

NHLhockeyNational Hockey League (NHL)
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL).
The NHL is considered to be the premier professional ice hockey league in the world, and one of the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada.

Major League Soccer

MLSMajor League Soccer (MLS)MLS All-Stars
Other prominent leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and Canadian Football League (CFL).
The league comprises 24 teams—21 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada and constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues in both countries.

National Football League

NFLleagueNational Football League (NFL)
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), National Basketball Association (NBA), National Football League (NFL), and National Hockey League (NHL).
The NFL is one of the four major professional sports leagues in North America, and the highest professional level of American football in the world.

Relocation of professional sports teams

relocatedmovedrelocate
Relocation can change the name of a team, but it is generally still considered to be the same entity.
In North America, a [[Professional sports league organization#Structure of North American leagues (franchise system)|league franchise system]] is used, and as the teams are generally privately owned and operate according to the wishes of their owners, the practice is much more common there than it is in other areas of the world, where sporting teams are often identified with a specific location.

Promotion and relegation

Promotedpromotionrelegated
Unlike the promotion and relegation systems used in sports leagues in various other regions around the world, North American sports leagues maintain the same teams from season-to-season.
This maintains the same teams from year to year, with occasional admission of expansion teams and relocation of existing teams, and with no team movement between the major league and minor leagues.

AFL–NFL merger

merger1970 mergermerged
The NFL partially absorbed the All-America Football Conference in 1949 and merged with the American Football League in 1970.
It paved the way for the combined league, which retained the "National Football League" name and logo, to become one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States.

American Basketball Association

ABAAmerican Basketball Association (ABA)1969–70 ABA season
Four teams from the rival American Basketball Association joined the NBA with the ABA–NBA merger in 1976.
The ABA was conceived at a time stretching from 1960 through the mid-1970s when numerous upstart leagues were challenging, with varying degrees of success, the established major professional sports leagues in the United States.

Vegas Golden Knights

VGKGolden KnightsVegas
The most popular sports league in Canada, and widely followed across the northern U.S., the NHL has expanded southward in recent decades to attempt to gain a more national following in the United States, in cities such as Dallas, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Tampa, and Las Vegas with varying success. The newest major league market is Las Vegas, which received the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and is slated to become the home of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
The team became the first major professional sports franchise to be based in Las Vegas, and the first NHL expansion team since 2000.

History of the National Football League

history of the APFANFL historyAmerican Professional Football Association
By 1958, when that season's NFL championship game became known as "The Greatest Game Ever Played", the NFL was on its way to becoming one of the most popular sports leagues in the United States.

Cleveland Barons (NHL)

Cleveland BaronsBaronsCLE
The last team to cease operations was the NHL's Cleveland Barons in 1978, when financial pressures forced a merger with the Minnesota North Stars.
As of 2019, the Barons remain the last franchise in the four major North American sports leagues to cease operations.

Sacramento Kings

SacramentoKingsRochester
While only one MLB team, the San Diego Padres, is located in a city that has no other major league team, seven NBA teams are located in cities devoid of any additional "big four" franchises: Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City).
The Kings are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues located in Sacramento.

Oklahoma City Thunder

Oklahoma CityThunderOKC
While only one MLB team, the San Diego Padres, is located in a city that has no other major league team, seven NBA teams are located in cities devoid of any additional "big four" franchises: Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City).
The Thunder are the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the state of Oklahoma.

Memphis Grizzlies

MemphisVancouver GrizzliesGrizzlies
While only one MLB team, the San Diego Padres, is located in a city that has no other major league team, seven NBA teams are located in cities devoid of any additional "big four" franchises: Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City).
The Grizzlies are currently the only team in the major professional North American sports leagues based in the city of Memphis.

Premier League

PremiershipFA Premier LeagueEnglish Premier League
Each of these is the wealthiest professional club competition in its sport worldwide, and along with the English Premier League they make up the top five sports leagues by revenue in the world.
The FA announced on 4 June 2015 that it would not pursue any further title sponsorship deals for the Premier League, arguing that they wanted to build a "clean" brand for the competition more in line with those of major U.S. sports leagues.

San Antonio Spurs

San AntonioSpursDallas/Texas Chaparrals
While only one MLB team, the San Diego Padres, is located in a city that has no other major league team, seven NBA teams are located in cities devoid of any additional "big four" franchises: Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City).
The Spurs are the city's only team in any of the four major U.S. professional sports leagues and the only major-league team in the city's history to have lasted more than five years.

San Diego Padres

PadresSan DiegoSD
While only one MLB team, the San Diego Padres, is located in a city that has no other major league team, seven NBA teams are located in cities devoid of any additional "big four" franchises: Memphis Grizzlies, Oklahoma City Thunder, Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, San Antonio Spurs and Utah Jazz (Salt Lake City).
The Padres are the only MLB team that doesn't share its city with another major league professional sports franchise.

Quebec Nordiques

QuebecNordiquesQUE
However, the teams in Winnipeg and Quebec City were eventually moved to larger media markets in the U.S. The NHL returned to Winnipeg for the 2011–12 season, with the Atlanta Thrashers relocating to become the current version of the Winnipeg Jets.
The Nordiques hold the distinction of being the only major professional sports team to have been based in Quebec City in the modern era, and one of only two ever; the other, the Quebec Bulldogs, played one season in the NHL in 1919–20.

Buffalo Bills

BuffaloBillsBills Wall of Fame
The NFL is the only major league to have no team based in a Canadian city; the closest teams to Canada are the Buffalo Bills and Detroit Lions, both representing cities located on the U.S.–Canada border.
The Bills formerly possessed the longest active playoff drought in any of the four major professional sports in North America: they did not qualify to play in the NFL playoffs from 1999 until 2017 and were the last NFL team (and last team in the major North American professional sports leagues overall) to compete in the playoffs in the 21st century.

National Football League on television

flexible schedulingNFLtelevision contracts
The NFL is the only major professional sports league in North America that requires teams to sell out in order to broadcast a game on television locally, after INDYCAR lifted the blackout of the Indianapolis 500 in the local market for the 2016 edition.

Chivas USA

CD Chivas USAC.D. Chivas USAthe club
The league has contracted three teams in its history: teams in Miami and Tampa Bay folded in 2002, and the Los Angeles-based Chivas USA squad folded in 2014.
During their tenure, this arrangement and those of the NFL's New York Giants and New York Jets in MetLife Stadium and NBA's Los Angeles Clippers and Los Angeles Lakers in the Staples Center were the only cases in the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada of two teams of the same league sharing a venue.

Continental League

rival leaguethird leaguethird major league
MLB prevented the Continental League from getting off the ground in 1961–62 by placing teams in four of that league's proposed cities by either expansion or relocation.
The Continental League of Professional Baseball Clubs (known as the Continental League or CL) was a proposed third major league for baseball in the United States and Canada, announced in 1959 and scheduled to begin play in the 1961 season.

Las Vegas

Las Vegas, NevadaLas Vegas, NVVegas
The newest major league market is Las Vegas, which received the Vegas Golden Knights in 2017 and is slated to become the home of the Las Vegas Raiders in 2020.
The Las Vegas Valley is the home of two major professional teams, the Vegas Golden Knights of the National Hockey League, an expansion team that began play in the 2017–18 NHL season out of T-Mobile Arena in nearby Paradise.

Buffalo Sabres

BuffaloBUFSabres
The NHL took over the Buffalo Sabres in 2002 after owner John Rigas was arrested for embezzlement, and sold the team to Tom Golisano in 2003.
The city of Buffalo went from having no teams in the established major professional sports leagues to three in one off-season, a situation that proved to be unsustainable.

Draft (sports)

draftdrafteddraft pick
All of the major North American professional sports leagues use a draft system to assign prospective players to teams.
Drafts are uncommon outside the U.S. and Canada, and most professional football clubs obtain young players through transfers from smaller clubs or by developing youth players through their own academies.