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  1. I’m disappointed that expansion is so out of the question these days. I think it would be good for MLB to have one more go-round to get to 32 and have an even and equal number of teams in each league. Portland and Las Vegas sound good to me.

    Comment by Danya — August 17, 2010 @ 11:20 am

  2. With pitching dominating I see another round of expansion as both likely and forthcoming. While expanding isn’t the best way to increase offense it is easier than changing rules, which I feel is also around the corner. Of course there is one area that is rife for expansion and would be the wild wild west of television and marketing opportunties. That is of course, Mexico and the Caribean.

    Comment by mowill — August 17, 2010 @ 11:49 am

  3. It’s just hard to say where they should expand.

    Las Vegas is a maybe, but how committed can their fans possibly be? It seems more like Tampa Pt. 2 than a foundation for success. High population doesn’t mean high attendance.

    I think Portland is a waste of time. Oregon just doesn’t strike me as a professional sports state, much less a baseball state.

    New Orleans is interesting, but they have their own world of hurt in non-football attendance, anyway.

    If I absolutely had to come up with sites for two new teams, I’d probably go with Salt Lake City, Utah, USA and Monterrey, Nuevo Leon, Mexico.

    Comment by Augustus — August 17, 2010 @ 11:51 am

  4. Great article, and very relevant. The map with the TV markets is helpful. One quick nitpick: the bolded sentence should be, “what wasn’t theirs” instead of, “what wasn’t there’s.”

    There are so many good options for expansion, it’s too bad that it won’t happen soon. Vegas would build a stadium tomorrow if they could have a team. I’d imagine Portland would be viable as well, but probably not once a similar Nats/O’s deal was arranged with the Mariners. The two cities that are going to force the issue in the next decade are San Antonio and Charlotte, which both have rapid growth and exploding population. And of course once a new Commish comes in, and if he’s willing to take a serious look at competitive balance, the discussion will inevitably lead back to putting a team in either Brooklyn or, more likely, northern Jersey to try to cut into the $200 million revenue edge the Yanks have over any other team in baseball.

    One quick question though: Where do international markets fit into this? I realize Montreal flopped, Toronto has struggled with the exchange rate at times, and the Mariners would cede Portland ten times over before Vancouver, but what about a team in Mexico or PR? Unfeasible, or just not yet feasible?

    Comment by Ben — August 17, 2010 @ 11:53 am

  5. Unless we start talking international relocation and/or expansion again. The economics aren’t there yet, but it’s not inconceivable that a shift in currency weights (i.e. a serious weakening of the dollar) wouldn’t make markets like Puerto Rico, the DR, Mexico and even Cuba tenable targets for relocation or expansion a decade from now. I don’t think we’ll see MLB teams cracking those markets, but I wouldn’t be surprised if minor league affiliates crept their way south of the border, opening up territories for new MLB sites at established AAA towns. Fast-growing areas like Raleigh-Durham and Austin-Round Rock are ripe, even with TV market overlap, provided there general southward shift of baseball fandom continues. The WBC is helping this trend along. I’m not 100% sure of this prediction — but if there IS expansion/relocation within the next generation, I’m relatively certain this is how it would happen.

    Comment by Chris Magyar — August 17, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  6. You guys would love the bigger mess that hits the Blue Jays with TV rights. As the entirety of Canada is considered theirs there is a complete blackout on MLB games outside the TV rights. Is allowing the whole current Rogers Sportsnet 1 shambles as Rogers can basically block off parts of the country to baseball/basketball/hockey until other providers give in and pay for the channel.

    Comment by TtD — August 17, 2010 @ 11:54 am

  7. I think the argument that the territorial rights weren’t the Giants in the first place, so they should give them up now, is a rather shaky one. San Francisco didn’t used to be the Giants’ territory, should they give that up to? San Jose area was granted to them, according to the sourced article (whose narrative of the events was pretty weak), 30 years ago. That’s quite a few years of establishing a fan base, and one has to consider that the Giants have their Single-A team in SJ too. The A’s have done a fantastic job of alienating their fans in Oakland, and the Bay Area in general. Mount Davis was an abomination that destroyed what was once a nice place to watch a baseball game. Obviously they need a new stadium.

    Does anyone know why the plans for building a stadium in Jack London square never developed? Or why Oakland gov. has been so resistant to a new stadium? Have they been helpful? I don’t know that many details about it.

    Comment by Paul — August 17, 2010 @ 11:57 am

  8. That is about exactly what I was thinking. Although if the regime in Cuba ever came to an end that has to be the most attractive expansion site.

    Comment by mowill — August 17, 2010 @ 12:00 pm

  9. Salt Lake City? It’s the 48th largest metro area in the US, has the exactly the same number of pro sports franchises as Portland, and is almost exactly half the size of Portland. Metro areas larger than Salt Lake City without baseball teams (besides Portland): Sacramento, Orlando, San Antonio, Columbus, Charlotte, Indianapolis, Norfolk/Va Beach, Nashville, Jacksonville, Louisville, Memphis, Richmond, OK City, Hartford, New Orleans, Birmingham. And both Raleigh and Tucson soon will be. Don’t see it happening.

    Comment by Ben — August 17, 2010 @ 12:01 pm

  10. AH! But baseball requires something more than population and that is a passionate fan base. Salt Lake has that, which makes them far more attractive than any city on your list except maybe San Antonio (which will not be liked by either Texas team), Hartford (love this idea), and Indianapolis (this one is questionable).

    Because of Salt Lake’s unique demographics I see them as a likely expansion candidate and a city actually capable of supporting a team.

    Comment by mowill — August 17, 2010 @ 12:10 pm

  11. Remember, Paul… There was no compensation to the A’s when Santa Clara Co. was given the Giants. And remember, the reason the territory was given to them was because Bob Lurie was looking to relocate the Giants there. Not one, but two voter referendums failed, and it took Peter Magowan getting Pacbell Park (the China Basin Project) built for the Giants to stay in the Bay Area. Now, if you can come up with a good reason why the league reaffirmed Santa Clara Co. as the Giants and giving the A’s no compensation, I’m all ears.

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 17, 2010 @ 12:13 pm

  12. On Salt Lake City… Non-starter… 31st highest DMA and the Rockies and D-Backs claim all of Utah as their TV territory (meaning, you’d have to figure out how to indemnify each)…. I need to look… How many Fortune 500 or 1000 companies are in the market? You also have the Jazz chewing up sponsors.

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 17, 2010 @ 12:22 pm

  13. By the way…. I did a comprehensive look at 10 markets for relo or expansion a while back (2008). I prefaced the article by saying “30″ was where MLB was likely to stay at, but let’s have some fun. I used the criteria that MLB was looking at during the Expos relocation derby as the basis:

    Ranking the Top 10 Markets for Relocation or Expansion

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 17, 2010 @ 12:25 pm

  14. I can’t imagine what you’re using as a metric for “fan base passion” outside of the success of its NBA team, in which case Portland scores just as high.

    Comment by Gul Cratt — August 17, 2010 @ 12:48 pm

  15. I was going with what mowill was thinking when I picked Salt Lake City as one of my two top candidates.

    You can’t just go people, you need very specific people, and there’s every reason to believe that Mormons would love baseball. And the whiteness index seems to tell me that it would work as well.

    Face it, it’s a very family-friendly game that is easy to follow on a leisurely basis, and Utah is a very family-oriented state that seems fairly interested in sports as a whole, even if they’ve only gotten the Jazz so far. There is a good number of Mormon baseball players, practicing or non-practicing, for the record, from Cy Young Winner Roy Halladay to first overall pick Bryce Harper.

    It’d have a very different personality than a team in Monterrey, but I see Salt Lake City working a lot better than Las Vegas from an attendance and long-term success standpoint and a lot better than Charlotte from a sorting-out-the-inevitable-television-rights-mess standpoint.

    Comment by Augustus — August 17, 2010 @ 1:10 pm

  16. Picking Northern New Jersey is looking too closely on how expansion would work in a vacuum and not looking closely enough on how it would work in reality.

    Frankly, we New Jerseyans just have no desire to add a baseball franchise of our own. We in the Northern half love the Yankees, the greatest franchise in sports except perhaps the Montreal Canadiens, or the Mets, who co-exist peacefully, mostly during the great expansion era of the 1960′s and 1970′s, when a lot of people moved in and were looking for new teams, whether it was the Mets in baseball, Jets in football, or Islanders in hockey.

    Honestly, why would we give up the Yankees? And why would we do it now? If I lived in DC and had been frustrated by years of Oriole ineptitude, I’d have considered switching to the Nationals, but there’s just no way I’d ever switch from the current Yankees, being a fan in New Jersey. They could move a team to my hometown and I probably wouldn’t switch.

    Southern New Jersey is entirely Phillies territory, and they also really don’t have any reason to switch. Less from a great franchise perspective than from a “why would I drive an hour and a half to see a new team when I can drive half an hour to see the one I’ve always liked?” perspective.

    Northern New Jersey would just never work, and I hope a team never comes to my state.

    Comment by Augustus — August 17, 2010 @ 1:16 pm

  17. Oh God, we’re calling it “Austin-Round Rock” now?

    Comment by Will — August 17, 2010 @ 1:29 pm

  18. The authoritative source on any A’s ballpark info:

    http://newballpark.blogspot.com/

    Comment by Tim_the_Beaver — August 17, 2010 @ 1:59 pm

  19. I concur

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 17, 2010 @ 2:08 pm

  20. Ironically, in North Carolina, viewers can watch neither Nationals nor Orioles games on television because Time Warner refuses to carry MASN. In fact, Nort Carolinians cannot watch Nats’ or O’s games even if they subscribe to MLB.tv because Washington and Baltimore games are blacked out.

    Comment by Andrew — August 17, 2010 @ 2:49 pm

  21. “we New Jerseyans just have no desire to add a baseball franchise of our own.”

    And be “we” you speak for all 21M? I get it, NY’ers and Jerseyans love the Yankees (and Mets). But saying it would never work overlooks the most important piece of info:

    Population: 21,199,865 (CMSA) (Ranks – 1st)

    NY/NJ should probably have 2-3 more teams.

    Comment by christian — August 17, 2010 @ 3:18 pm

  22. You’d think a Brooklyn team would be more likely than a NJ one.

    Comment by Jamee — August 17, 2010 @ 3:44 pm

  23. I relocated to NC this spring and was surprised to get no Orioles or Nats games even though I purchased the MLB cable package from Time Warner. Which would be fine if I could watch those two teams on some other “regular” channel, but those games never air on TWC. Now I know why. Just another reason to be frustrated by Time Warner Cable! As if I needed another one…

    Comment by lcfiore — August 17, 2010 @ 4:07 pm

  24. I’m glad he had the guts to write about it, I sure couldn’t figure out how.

    Comment by mowill — August 17, 2010 @ 4:51 pm

  25. What about Puerto Rico? Think they could support a team?

    Comment by Newcomer — August 17, 2010 @ 5:08 pm

  26. Another North Carolinian here. While the Nats/Orioles count NC as their market, I don’t know any North Carolinians who consider themselves to be fans of either franchise. Most baseball fans here follow the Braves.

    Comment by mattpoin — August 17, 2010 @ 5:41 pm

  27. Maury, what odds would you put on the A’s and Rays being CONTRACTED within the next 15 years, if their stadium projects/dreams ultimately fail? Same question for other Fangraphs readers, what do you think?

    As unlikely as contraction is, I actually think there’s a greater likelihood of contracting those two than there is for expansion in the next 20 years. But I’d also say the odds of both contraction or expansion are under 5% in that timeframe.

    Maury, you mentioned teams are flush with cash…I’m trying to make a connection to your expansion anecdote at the start of the story…if poverty/debt led them to expand, then the current (and future) healthy state of the game presents a better opportunity to shoulder the cost of buying out the Rays and A’s for a total cost of $500M+ in 10-15 years if their stadium efforts go bust. I could both ownership groups ultimately selling if they are unable to build stadiums.

    Sure, that’s an incredible amount of money for the other 28 franchises to shoulder…but it’s also two less annual recipients of revenue sharing checks, and it increases the annual piece of pie for all other 28 teams for the forseeable future. If they look very long-term, the other 28 franchises win from this, don’t they?

    You’d have to move two teams back to the AL to have an even 14-14 again. There would probably be some radical realignment…back to four divisions instead of six, perhaps, and two wild cards in each league.

    Everybody wins…except A’s and Rays fans, a group I fall into. :(

    Comment by Jacob Jackson — August 17, 2010 @ 6:53 pm

  28. Des Moines should have a team, we could use a 7th team to not be able to watch on MLB.tv.

    Fuck MLB and their ridiculous blackout standards here.

    Comment by Mike — August 17, 2010 @ 8:02 pm

  29. It’s not the Giants’ fault that the A’s didn’t care enough to get compensated for ceding the territory. That’s the reason the Giants got the territory and the A’s got nothing: MLB gave it to them, and the A’s didn’t bitch and moan and complain and file a grievance. They didn’t care, and they only care now because they’re trying to move there and can’t. And the Giants have every right to block the A’s from moving to San Jose, both because they can and because they want that market; it’s a big one, and it accounts for a lot of their revenue. It’s unfair to call the Giants out for being the bad guys when they only took what was given to them.

    Comment by quincy0191 — August 17, 2010 @ 9:12 pm

  30. I’d think expansion is far more likely than contraction. Contraction would mean that baseball is saying that they’re not making enough money and can’t do anything to make a team viable, and they’re simply not going to do that. There are enough emerging/existing markets that expansion within the next 20 years isn’t ridiculous IMO; between more international teams (probably in Latin America), another NY team, or a new city in the US (Austin, Portland, New Orleans, Nashville, Las Vegas, etc.), I wouldn’t be that surprised to see MLB grow.

    Comment by quincy0191 — August 17, 2010 @ 9:17 pm

  31. It’s not the Giants’ fault that the A’s didn’t care enough to get compensated for ceding the territory. That’s the reason the Giants got the territory and the A’s got nothing: MLB gave it to them, and the A’s didn’t bitch and moan and complain and file a grievance. They didn’t care, and they only care now because they’re trying to move there and can’t.

    When I read stuff like this, I really think that having the team move to Tampa Bay would have cleared some heads. There’s not a shred of reality to any of the above.

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 17, 2010 @ 9:52 pm

  32. Puerto Rico uses the dollar. It’s a US territory.

    Comment by gnomez — August 17, 2010 @ 11:13 pm

  33. Mexico City and Havana are the best possible sites for MLB expansion. I think these are more likely to fly with owners than further slicing of the U.S. pie. Each basically opens a new market and revenue stream. The Marlins might not like competition form Cuba, but anything that pisses Loria off is totally fine with me.

    The difficulty in each case is that it’s unclear whether these two countries have the economy that will generate revenue necessary to support MLB teams. With the massive population of Mexico city, I’m willing to bet it can crush any un-tapped U.S. market even with ticket prices 1/3 the U.S. average, but I’m not sure whether Havana could do the same.

    Comment by philosofool — August 18, 2010 @ 12:10 am

  34. Vegas is broke right now. Last I heard, 80% of the home in the greater Las Vegas area were worth less than their mortgaged value. The economy of the city depended on two things, growth (construction, etc.) and gambling, both of which have dried up since fall of 2008. The city might find the revenue to build a stadium, but I kinda doubt it.

    Comment by philosofool — August 18, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  35. Wait? Portland doesn’t have a passionate fanbase? The city has the team that has the record for most consecutive home sellouts of any franchise in American Sports. Whenever a national media outlet covers games there, the announces mention repeatedly how great the home town crowd is. The Timbers army is absolutely rabid, and when they join MLS next year, I’m pretty sure the Vegas odds makers have set the Over/Under for homicides as a direct result of Timbers/Sounders soccer matches at 14.5. Hell, Bill Simmons even ranked Portland the best NBA crowd this season, writing,

    ” I never stumbled across a Blazers game in which their fans weren’t totally bringing it. Two great examples from Monday’s Oklahoma City game: First, OKC had such a severe free throw advantage, and Portland fans were so furious about it that it seemed like we were headed for the first triple ref homicide. … Only Portland fans and Utah fans can make a casual observer feel like the officials are in actual danger. That’s a good thing. In the old days, every crowd did that.

    Second example: Because news broke of Brandon Roy’s soul-crushing knee injury that same night, there was particular meaning to Marcus Camby’s get-on-my-back performance (30 points, 13 rebounds) … which the Blazers’ fans recognized by passionately chanting, “Mar-cus Cam-bee!” when he finally left the game. Just a great moment… Made me remember the days when NBA crowds knew what the hell they were doing. Gotta love Rip City.”

    Now, Salt Lake City definitely has a sports passionate fanbase as well, but saying Portland isn’t a “Pro-sports town” is absolutely inane.

    Comment by Joof — August 18, 2010 @ 12:18 am

  36. Yep. If you’re a southerner who likes baseball, there’s about a 95% chance you’re a Braves fan. Just about everyone in the south following another team is a transplant.

    Comment by philosofool — August 18, 2010 @ 12:26 am

  37. That fucking blows.

    You should look into a VPN and a way to look like you’re on an over-seas IP address. It might not be that easy to pull off, but it’s worth a try.

    Comment by philosofool — August 18, 2010 @ 12:29 am

  38. Portland does not have enough of the right demographic to support an MLB team. Seattle barely does and that is only because of their regional draw. Portland would have no regional draw outside of Oregon and a little of SW Washington. It is just not enough people to support a profitable team. They would be like Seattle before Safeco Field except they would already have a new stadium.

    Scroll up and read the comment a couple above this by Augustus. He explains exactly why a smaller city like Salt Lake has just the demographic that baseball looks for.

    Comment by mowill — August 18, 2010 @ 1:27 am

  39. In the U.S. I would rate the markets like this;

    1. NY Metro
    2. Salt Lake
    3. Connecticut (drawing from Long Island)

    International;

    1. Mexico (number of valid sites but one to start)
    2. Puerto Rico (moves ahead of Mexico w/statehood)
    3. Cuba (moves to top of list if communist government is replaced by one more favorable to capitalism)

    I see all these places with teams in the next fifty years. Also see all these places with teams (perhaps as many as 3 in Mexico) before Canada gets another crack. (Any Canadian team must have a retractable roof and it just costs too much right now.)

    Comment by mowill — August 18, 2010 @ 1:36 am

  40. I don’t care about if Portland is viable or not. I’m taking issue with people saying that Portland doesn’t have “a passionate fanbase” or “isn’t a professional sports town.” Those claims are utterly stupid, and out of line with anything that observation of sports in Portland would tell you.

    Comment by Joof — August 18, 2010 @ 1:37 am

  41. No one said those things Joof. What we did say is that Salt Lake might be a better sports town with more passionate fans for an MLB expansion team. I think Portland would do great with an NHL or NFL franchise. I think Portland could support an NHL team better than Seattle or Salt Lake. I think the demographics and limited regional draw would be a death nail for any MLB team in Portland. Once the novelty wore off I see Portland supporting an MLB team better than Miami but maybe not as well as Tampa. Just my opinions and in no way was I trying to insult Portland. Portland is a lovely place to live and work and one of my favorite large cities.

    Comment by mowill — August 18, 2010 @ 5:02 am

  42. On Portland…

    It may interest some that A) I live there, and; B) I was involved in the MLB to Portland effort when the Expos were up for relocation.

    Portland’s issues deal more with the ability to garner stadium funding at the local level than anything. State funding was passed years ago and is still on the books.

    As to whether the city could support a team… Ratings for MLB games (not just Mariners) have been traditionally high. However, the Mariners would pitch a fit… Portland is a large market they claim.

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 18, 2010 @ 5:25 am

  43. “I think Portland is a waste of time. Oregon just doesn’t strike me as a professional sports state, much less a baseball state.”

    “But baseball requires something more than population and that is a passionate fan base.”

    Comment by Joof — August 18, 2010 @ 5:26 am

  44. Concur with your comment. Moreover, for some reason the majority of North Carolina (specifically, Charlotte) is also claimed by the Reds as a TV territory. While this makes absolutely no sense to me (Cincinnati is 498 miles/7 hours 48 minutes one way driving from my house), this means that even though I have MLB Extra Innings, I have to watch Mets games against the Reds, Nationals (413.86 miles/6 hours 37 minutes away), sometimes Orioles (407.63 miles/6 hours 32 minutes away, but which makes some sense since Charlotte has in the past had a AA Orioles farm team here and it is the closest AL team to here) and Braves (which makes the most sense as Atlanta is the easily the closest city of the MLB cities near Charlotte at 252.09 miles/4 hours 4 minutes away and has the largest fan base by far of all MLB teams in the area) on the regional networks (MASN, FSOH, FSS and SportSouth). In the past, this has angered me because, specifically in the case of a game they played against the Reds, although SNY/Extra Innings showed the game the powers that be in Cincinnati declined to.
    Also, regarding the announcers, I hate it when the Mets play the Nationals because listening to the Nationals announcers (which I’m forced to do because, for some reason known only to MLB, I’m supposed to be a Nationals fan because Charlotte somehow ended up in their territory although, like the Reds, there is no affiliation for that team in this area), the biggest “homers” in the booth in baseball. Like listening to nails on a chalkboard. Far prefer Gary, Keith and Ron.

    Comment by Michael — August 18, 2010 @ 8:51 am

  45. Also, if MLB ever thinks about moving to Charlotte, they would do well to put a NL team here as the AL ones would not really draw here. A rivalry with the Braves would prove vital in the initial years of MLB here. But I don’t think I really need worry about that for the immediate future.

    Comment by Michael — August 18, 2010 @ 8:57 am

  46. In a related vein, how much were the Washington Senators compensated when the Baltimore Orioles arrived from St. Louis? The A’s are a AL team that, really, does not compete with the Giants except for during interleague play twice a season. Each team should be free to put their product on the field and let the public decide (which is actually what happens anyway). While it isn’t true that the better team will always draw the better crowd (e.g. Cubs vs White Sox), just because you say somewhere is a territory does not in fact make it so.

    Comment by Michael — August 18, 2010 @ 9:03 am

  47. I can’t speak to what someone else wrote. But I was saying a fanbase that is passionate about baseball. There is no doubt fans in Portland and Oregon overall are passionate about their teams. There is a high degree of doubt as to whether those fans and others would be passionate enough about MLB to spend enough money to support an expansion baseball team.

    Fans in that area have plenty of passion for sure, it is questionable whether that passion would translate into enough to support an MLB team.

    Comment by mowill — August 18, 2010 @ 2:16 pm

  48. Hard to say that Montreal flopped, when the team was run into the ground. When the team was competitive, fans came out to support it. If baseball can survive in Cleveland and Atlanta, it could’ve survived in Montreal if given time.

    Comment by Raf — August 18, 2010 @ 2:44 pm

  49. Besides, where would this theoretical team play? Newark? The Meadowlands? Jersey City? Hoboken?

    I don’t see it happening. At least there are plenty of minor league options in Northern NJ.

    Comment by Raf — August 18, 2010 @ 2:59 pm

  50. in terms of most-populated Metro Areas…NYC could hypothetically support a 3rd team (if the Marlins moved to the meadowlands I’d consider dropping my Mets fandom)

    Also a market not mentioned, but is already a large metro area in its own right is the Riverside/Bakersfield/Ontario Inland Empire Metro.

    Comment by tcnjsteve — August 18, 2010 @ 5:49 pm

  51. On the question of contraction.,. Can’t see it happening. The league would get the crap suied out it. Best example is what happened when Carl Pohlad offered up the Twins for contraction to go along with the Expos. I’ll post the relevant doc link in a bit

    Comment by Maury Brown — August 18, 2010 @ 8:29 pm

  52. Thank you for the feedback Maury, I am grateful. I had not known the past history with Pohlad/Twins, and I’d love for you to post the link you’re thinking of if you find it.

    Comment by Jacob Jackson — August 18, 2010 @ 8:33 pm

  53. One of the articles http://news.minnesota.publicradio.org/features/200201/22_khoom_twins/

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  56. Hey Maury,

    It’s funny you bring this up because this came up at LSB a week or so ago. Would you keep San Antonio where it is currently ranked if you did this list again? Also, would Austin-Round Rock get counted in for TV viewership? Between those areas, you probably have a top 15 or 20 population center to draw from. Also, San Antonio doesn’t have an NFL team to compete with (basketball/hockey seem like better partners), seems to latch onto the Spurs in a dedicated way and it makes up one of the fastest growing areas in the country. How big of a fit would the Rangers and Astros throw?

    Also, how would you rate Nashville as a potential move? This also helps in drawing up an 8 division x 4 team setup compared to Portland.

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  58. It would seem to me that the largest and only determinant for MLB Expansion would be how large the metro area (rather then the actual city population) is. The obvious Metro area that I can see is Mexico City. It’s the largest Metro area in ALL of North America. After Mexico City the next 17 metro areas ALL have MLB franchises (with the top 5 metro areas having two teams) The next highest metro area without an MLB franchise at 18 is Guadalajara. The smallest metro area with a MLB team is Milwaukee at 49th on the list. Certainly there are cities and nations for that matter that can bring in the fans just like Milwaukee. Perhaps Milwaukee should be a bench mark for further contention and examination.

    Comment by kc2mfc — August 8, 2011 @ 4:12 am

  59. Saying who had territorial rights 30 years ago is not pertinent to today. The Giants entered the SF Bay market in 1957. Athletics didn’t arrive until 1968. Can the Giants say “SF Bay was originally all Giants territory, so get the heck out!”
    No. Has no claims now. Just like the Palistinians trying to say Israel has no claim to their lands. It’s not a good reason and quite foolish. Actually, I would really like for this territorial rights argument to just be thrown out completely. If a team wants to move to a viable city they should be allowed to. If a team wants to broadcast their games to the whole country they should be allowed to. No one team should have a monopoly over a tv or radio broadcast area. If they dont get this fixed, there will NOT BE ANY more MLB expansion teams in the U.S.—and if you’re not growing then your dying.

    Comment by Kelly Keeton — August 23, 2012 @ 7:37 pm

  60. I live in Vegas..
    We likely wont support a team well, attendancewise.. It would have to be indoor, of course.

    With sooooo many attractions spanning sooooooo many venues, some permanent, some on contract, some “tonite only”, I just dont see it happening.

    Also, the where would the stadium go? There is room north, and south, but not east nor west. And, the highway system, while being upgraded, is basically a parking lot at times near most “game start times”.

    Also, prices would be outrageous. Most casino/hotels charge insane prices on their wares. The precedent is set. Outrageous prices in stadium as well. Not that others arent, but, not Vegas-outrageous.

    I am sure alot of studies show Vegas to be good for baseball. I just dont see it, from the “living in vegas” point of view.

    Comment by Cidron — August 23, 2012 @ 11:26 pm

  61. generally correct on that. I did a reply up a bit on why I dont think Vegas would be good. Tourism is a nice trade, when its good.. but, when its not.. its NOT. And, to have a city built on tourism, to support a baseball team from locals.. real real iffy.

    But, the vying for which casino chain gets the stadium will be fun to watch !! Imagine, “And, now, Welcome to Bally’s Sports complex, Built in cooperation with MGM, Stations Casino’s, and Wynn Properties, and Trump Hotel and Casino. The home of your Las Vegas Blackjacks”

    Comment by Cidron — August 23, 2012 @ 11:32 pm

  62. why are we discussing population size.. it matters little. If the NFL can put a team in Green bay, and have it succeed long term (ok, a few periods of poor play) so can MLB. All you need is a passionate fan base. Not population that “might” attend a few games the first few years to test the water, so to speak. Scour the minors for stuff of this sort, passion.. That may be more useful than compiling a list of “Largest cities without a MLB franchise”

    Comment by Cidron — August 23, 2012 @ 11:38 pm

  63. I view the SF Oakland thing best in a metaphorical analogy. SF : US gov :: OAK : native nations.

    Sentences like these just affirm that:

    “There was no compensation to the A’s when Santa Clara Co. was given the Giants.”

    “Saying who had territorial rights 30 years ago is not pertinent to today.”
    “It’s not the Giants’ fault that the A’s didn’t care enough to get compensated for ceding the territory.”

    Comment by Eric Cioe — August 24, 2012 @ 1:38 pm

  64. Having a monopoly for any territory should be illegal. If the A’s, and the city of San Jose can come to an agreement and a 2/3 majority of the American League teams say its ok. It should be done. Giants minor league team can move to Oakland….. And if SacTown can upgrade their field and have an ownership group that can pay the exorbitant expansion fee they should get a team. The A’s can put their AAA team In Portland. Giants and Athletics both get two shares of Sactown’s expansion fees. If the owner of Sactown’s AAA team, is a co-owner of the new expansion team, he should be allowed to keep all the players on His team that are not under contract with the Athletics and have the right to buy the contracts of all the other players. SacTown has a huge following and should be given the right to keep as many of their players that they can keep. Put Sacramento in the American League. Will have a huge rivalry with the Athletics. Will be upper class vs govt employee….Republican vs Democrat…..SacTowns mascot could be the jackass. Would be White Elephants vs Brown Mules.

    Comment by Kelly — October 19, 2012 @ 8:32 pm

  65. This brings up many valid points. As a fan out of Seattle who is STARVING for NL-style ball, I want nothing more than to see a club in Portland to compete in a division with the Giants, Dodgers, and D-backs and share a natural interleague rivalry with the M’s for annual bragging rights. It would complete the circle on the ultimate PacNW rivalry, from the old days of the Sonics/Blazers, which hopefully will be resurrected again someday, but that’s for another thread.

    I’d drop what I’m doing and become a season ticket holder for the Portland club….and while I’m a lifelong M’s fan who loved Edgar Martinez at DH, my love for NL ball trumps all.

    However, those are mere fantasies. As you stated, the collusion argument brings to light some sad realities — or THE sad reality — that at the end of the day, it’s the money that speaks….and not always in a good way, or with shades of gray, as the 90s expansion “bailout” points out.

    Relocation is full of headaches and heartache, and can be really messy, so I’m not interested in that. So if we look at expansion scenarios, and assume that there needs to be a substantial financial motivator, what would that be? That’s where a solution might be found. Expanding or adding teeth to revenue sharing? Don’t know. I’m the furthest thing from an economist.

    However, the financial realities of MLB are universally understood. In some ways, you can’t blame the owners and financial concerns….it’s not like MLB is a wise business investment. In today’s culture to strive for financial gains through the exercise of savvy business decisions, owning and operating an MLB club is really more like a hobby that brings a heroine addiction with it — an inescapable and repeated shot in the arm that gets more expensive each time — and therefore deems one prone to large monetary losses.

    So whatever beautiful fantasies expansion present for Portland, Charlotte, Tennessee, Utah, other markets, and fans like myself, this article brings home the fact that an overwhelming financial incentive on the part of existing owners needs to make itself known. Well-framed article. Kudos.

    Comment by Safeco Cyclops — November 12, 2012 @ 3:26 pm

  66. I live in Salt Lake and can definitely see this city supporting an MLB team. We have AAA and they do great in attendance every year. We also have the Jazz and Real Salt Lake both of which have passionate fan bases. Most Salt Laker’s and Utahan’s would support a team here!

    Comment by Derek — March 11, 2013 @ 10:56 pm

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