Major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada

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The major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada are the highest professional competitions of team sports in those countries.wikipedia
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National Basketball Association

NBANBA.comBasketball Association of America
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL).
It is one of the four major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada, and is widely considered to be the premier men's professional basketball league in the world.

National Hockey League

NHLhockeyNational Hockey League (NHL)
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the 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.

National Football League

NFLleagueAmerican Professional Football Association
The four leagues universally included in the definition are Major League Baseball (MLB), the National Basketball Association (NBA), the National Football League (NFL), and the National Hockey League (NHL). The National Football League is a professional American football league and was founded in 1920 as a combination of various teams from regional leagues such as the Ohio League, the New York Pro Football League, and the Chicago circuit.
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.

Major League Soccer

MLSMajor League Soccer (MLS)MLS All-Stars
Other prominent leagues include Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Canadian Football League (CFL).
The league comprises 26 teams—23 in the U.S. and 3 in Canada and constitutes one of the major professional sports leagues in both countries.

Relocation of professional sports teams

relocatedmovedmove
Relocation can change the name of a team, but it is generally still considered to be the same entity.
The practice is most common in North America, where a [[Professional sports league organization#Structure of North American leagues (franchise system)|league franchise system]] is used and the teams are overwhelmingly privately owned.

Promotion and relegation

Promotedrelegatedpromotion
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

AFL-NFL mergermerger1970 merger
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.

Colorado Avalanche

ColoradoCOLAvalanche
The most popular sports league in Canada, and widely followed across the northern and northeastern U.S., the NHL has expanded westward and southward in recent decades to attempt to gain a more national following in the United States, in cities such as Denver, San Jose, Dallas, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Tampa, Las Vegas with varying success.
Among teams in the major North American professional sports leagues, only the National Football League (NFL)'s Washington Redskins have also accomplished the feat.

Sports league

leagueLeague systemleagues
The National Football League is a professional American football league and was founded in 1920 as a combination of various teams from regional leagues such as the Ohio League, the New York Pro Football League, and the Chicago circuit.
There is no team movement between the higher major league and the lower minor leagues.

Vegas Golden Knights

VGKLas Vegas Golden KnightsGolden Knights
The most popular sports league in Canada, and widely followed across the northern and northeastern U.S., the NHL has expanded westward and southward in recent decades to attempt to gain a more national following in the United States, in cities such as Denver, San Jose, Dallas, Miami, Nashville, Phoenix, Raleigh, Tampa, Las Vegas with varying success.
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

NFL historyhistory of the APFANational Football League
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 2020, the Barons remain the last franchise in the four major North American sports leagues to cease operations.

Sacramento Kings

Cincinnati RoyalsRochester RoyalsKansas City Kings
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.

Premier League

FA Premier LeaguePremiershipEnglish Premier League
Each of these is the wealthiest professional club competition in its sport worldwide, and along with the English Premier League and the Spanish La Liga they make up the top six 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.

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, and is the only professional basketball team in the state of Tennessee.

San Antonio Spurs

San AntonioSpursSAS
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).
As of May 2017, the Spurs had the best winning percentage of any franchise in the major professional sports leagues in the United States and Canada over the previous three decades.

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 does not share its city with another franchise in the four major American professional sports leagues.

Quebec Nordiques

Québec NordiquesQuebecQUE
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 were the only major professional sports team based in Quebec City in the modern era, and one of two ever; the other, the Quebec Bulldogs, played one season in the NHL in 1919–20.

2001 Major League Baseball contraction plan

contractionaborted contraction attemptaborted contraction plan
MLB voted in 2001 to contract from 30 teams to 28, but ran into opposition and never executed the contraction plan.
If the plan had gone through, it would have been the first contraction by a major North American professional sports league since the National Hockey League merged the Cleveland Barons into the Minnesota North Stars in 1978, and the first contraction by Major League Baseball since.

Buffalo Bills

BuffaloBillsBuffalo Bills 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 qualify for the playoffs for the first time in the 21st century.

National Football League on television

flexible schedulingNFLNFL on television
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

C.D. Chivas USACD Chivas USAClub Deportivo Chivas USA
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.