In days of yore, there was baseball's Federal League; later, the Continental League, which didn't fly. In American football, the American Football League, the World Football League, and the United States Football League. In basketball, the American Basketball Association. In hockey, the World Hockey Association. Before free agency, some of these leagues provided a functional equivalent - the NFL/AFL merger was, in part, a Good Business Move to avoid that state of affairs. There was also the United Soccer Association and the National Professional Soccer League, which merged to become the North American Soccer League.

One can now add the infamous piece of chump-change loss-leader television programming foisted upon us by the duo of Titan Sports and General Electric -- the XFL. The Mia Hamm Traveling Circus (what's it called? The WUSA?) will eventually rest in this node.

American soccer has a whole set of these. The NASL, as mentioned above, died; there's also the Major Indoor Soccer League and all the sundry members of the United Systems of Independent Soccer Leagues -- the USISL Select League, the USISL Premier League, and some other Division 3 league. They were all munched when Major League Soccer, the A-League and the USISL merged under the United Soccer Leagues banner, which preserved MLS, the A-League and a league called the D3 Pro League below the A-League. Some Select and Premier League cities saw their teams move up to the A-League, the rest just saw them relegated to D3 status.

In American football, the World League of American Football could qualify under this category, since 7 of its 10 teams (those based in the U.S. and Canada) died when it became NFL Europe in 1995 (the WLAF suspended operations after summer 1992).

A host of baseball minor leagues have died, but the American Association rates special attention; it started in the 1880s as a major league competitor to the National League, and was a AAA league until 1997. When the major leagues expanded in 1998, two teams were added to the AAA ranks (the Durham Bulls and the Memphis Redbirds), one team relocated (the Phoenix Firebirds became the Fresno Grizzlies), and the AA disbanded, sending three of its teams to the International League and five to the Pacific Coast League.

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