AP style sports abbreviations
AP style can be both about the long and the short of things, but a good general rule to keep in mind is this:
When in doubt, spell the whole thing out (unless of course you’re talking about numbers, which are their own animal altogether).
That said, AP does have many abbreviations for things that it has deemed acceptable to use in all references.
In the world of sports, you’re good to use all the common abbreviations on first reference, including NFL, AFC, NFC, NBA, NHL, NCAA, PGA, LPGA,USGA, NASCAR, MLB, AL, NL and FIFA.
But also keep in mind the following terms when looking to shorten your copy.
MMA For all references to mixed martial arts
MVP For all references to most valuable player
UFC For all references to Ultimate fighting