The NBA Development League is set to expand to (at least) 25 teams for the 2017-18 season, but it will do so under a different moniker.
The NBA announced Tuesday its minor league would be known as the NBA Gatorade League beginning with the 2017-18 season, adopting a corporate sponsorship name.
Such a move is hardly unprecedented, as various auto racing circuits (Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series, NASCAR Xfinity Series, NASCAR Camping World Truck Series to name a few) as well as Mylan World TeamTennis and recent the NET10 Wireless Arena Football League. It is, however, more akin to the NASCAR circuits than the other team sports in that there is no avoiding the name. World TeamTennis and Arena Football League remained the most commonly used names of those leagues in discussion, while the NASCAR series are only distinguishable by the sponsor (except for the "Truck Series"). The league will be known by its full name or as the "G-League" for short, keeping in tradition with the D-League history.
Oshkosh, Wisconsin will host the new Milwaukee Bucks D-League team set to begin play in the 2017-18 season. The team will be the 25th in the NBA Development League and will play at the brand new Oshkosh Arena. The city beat out fellow Wisconsin markets of Racine and Sheboygan to land the team and has been tentatively titled "Fox Valley".
The Evansville IceMen last played in the 2015-16 ECHL season and were set to become the Owensboro IceMen before their deal to renovate Owensboro Sports Center in Owensboro, Kentucky fell through. The team sat out the 2016-17 season but announced Wednesday the team will return for the 2016-17 season in a new venue.
The rebranded Jacksonville IceMen will begin play at Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena this fall. The arena also hosts the Jacksonville Sharks football team of the National Arena League and the Jacksonville Giants of the American Basketball Association.
The return of the IceMen and the addition of Worcester Railers HC brings the ECHL up to 29 teams for the upcoming season, one less than the 30-team American Hockey League and two less than the 31-team National Hockey League.