Top 10 Defunct Sports LeaguesThere's a point where some sports league officially come to their end. These defunct leagues were either successful, failures, or just decided to merge or end their run. Hi I'm Pnut, and today I'll be telling you the Top 10 Defunct Sports Leagues.
What might possibly be the most recognized league on the list, the AFL would become rivals with the NFL at one point in history. Since 1920, the NFL has ruled the Football World and it didn't really have that many rivals throughout it's history, until the AFL came along. Featuring teams such as the Raiders, Patriots, Jets, Chiefs, and Titans (Back then called the Oilers), the league was a huge success and would end up having TV deals with ABC and NBC. It also had many college football stars signed to the league like Billy Cannon. In 1966, the AFL agreed with the NFL to lay against each other in the game now known as the Super Bowl, and in the 1969 (Or 1970), they would merge with the NFL, officially being defuncted. Kind of. I'm not really sure to be honest.
In case you didn't know, it was announced in 2018 that a new league called the Alliance of American Football would begin in early 2019. It had minor changes than other football leagues such as the play clock running for only 35 seconds and players could not throw the ball into the stands. The league started out with some solid reviews and look liked it was heading in a good direction. But after only 8 weeks out of the 10 they have scheduled, operations were suspended and eventually, players in the league were allowed to sign to the NFL. The league would then file Chapter 7 bankruptcy and the league was no more.
Only lasting a total of 11 years, the ABA would serve quite some competition to the NBA, the top league in the sport of Basketball. The impact on the league was quite big, and it is actually still going on today. It featured legendary basketball players such as Rick Barry, Julius Erving, and David Thompson. The league was known it's appealing style of play, and the creativity of it. In 1976, the team folded and teams such as the Denver Nuggets and San Antonio Spurs were sent to the NBA. It's biggest feats in it's time were the first time the 3 point line would be used and the first dunk contest.
Let's say you're from Canada, and you want to play in the MLB. Well, in 2003, if you wanted to play, you could play for your own country, that is if you live in Canada. It was an independent minor league baseball league owned by Ferguson Jenkins and had a total of eight teams. They had a trophy called the Jenkins Cup, which is earned to the team with the best record. Despite early promise, the expectations were nowhere near what they thought they would make. And after losing over 4 million dollars during their lone season, they were auctioned off and were never brought back again.
While the XFL was rebooted in 2020, then got shutdown, then got rebooted yet again for 2022, the original XFL was made back in 2001, and it basically the real life version of the video game NFL Blitz. Being owned by Vince McMahon, the XFL had some creative concepts, such as player microphones and two people racing for a ball to see who gets the first turn in the game. It did really well with ratings at the start, but then it dropped very fast, with people complaining about the quality and not having enough competition towards the NFL. After 1 season it was officially defuncted.
Have you ever wanted to see football player all year around. Well, you can see just that thanks to the USFL... for a short period of time at least. For three straight seasons, the owner David Dixon wanted to bring professional football to the world during the Springe and Summer. NFL Legends such as Jim Kelly, Reggie White, and Steve Young would play in this league. The sad ending of this league was that several owners led by Donald Trump of all people went to court against the NFL and even though they won the case, they were then forced to fold.
Besides the NHL, there were other Hockey Leagues too such as the International Hockey League and Western Hockey League, there's was one other league that stands out. The World Hockey Association was a hockey league that would try to compete against the NHL. In their run from 1972-1979, the league would feature legends such as Bobby Hall, Gordie Howe, and the man himself, Wayne Gretzky. Eventually, the league would be merged, and teams today such as the Edmonton Oilers and Winnipeg Jets came from here.
Originally called The World League of American Football, NFL Europe was a football league backed up by the NFL that had teams that would play in Europe. Between the years of 1991 and 2007, it featured many teams from different countries such as Germany, Spain, UK, and the Netherlands. It also had some unique play ideas, with field goals longer than 50 yards are worth 4 points, and overtime would last 10 minutes, just like the NFL today. Sadly, the league would surprisingly come to a close in 2007.
This league was founded by a man named Philip K. Wrigley, and it was made to keep baseball popular because at the time, players in the MLB were being drafted to WWII, and people were afraid it would start to lose some of it's fans. Beginning in 1943, the league would go on to have an 11 year run, and over 600 women would play in this league. It would even be an inspiration to the hit film A League of Their Own.
The NASL I'm talking about is a time when the New York Cosmos once packed 70,000 fans for a game in a football stadium. A time when Pele put this League on the map. A time when the shootout took place to settle games if they're tied. A time when the word Soccer Bowl was a part of a major event, and finally a time when ABC Sports for better or worse covered this league. A time that is now forgotten but never forgotten for those who took part in this league.
Opening in 1965, the Continental Football League was a football league that was hoping to become a major force in football with the NFL. It included many famous football players such as Ken Stabler, Bill Walsh, and Steve Van Buren. In 1969, the league ended because teams kept folding, forfeiting, and being revoked from the league. This would make the ending for the CFL all but inevitable.