There are 30 teams in the MLB, many of them have been successful in their respective city. Franchises like the New York Yankees, Boston Red Sox, Chicago Cubs and Los Angeles Dodgers bring in a solid attendance every year. Others however, have struggled to earn a profit or be able to sell tickets, such as the Tampa Bay Rays, Miami Marlins and Oakland Athletics. There are numerous cities out there that are worthy for an MLB team, whether it’s for relocation or an expansion team, these 10 cities mentioned deserve to have an MLB team to call their own.
10. Virginia Beach: Virginia Beach is one of the most beautiful cities in the U.S. It’s a great place to have an MLB team for many reasons. First off, bringing a team here can attract many tourists who travel in Virginia annually. Secondly, despite not having any professional franchise in Virginia, the fans go crazy about their college teams like the Virginia Cavaliers and Virginia Tech Hokies. With a professional baseball team to call home, they can form a new rivalry with the Washington Nationals and Baltimore Orioles.
9. Salt Lake City: Salt Lake City has shown a strong passion for professional sports. The Utah Jazz fill up their arena to 98.8 percent of full capacity yearly, and their MLS team, Real Salt Lake, averages 18,584 fans per game – which is 92 percent of their stadium capacity. Salt Lake City offers a minor league baseball squad called the Bees, which is the Triple-A affiliate of the Anaheim Angels. This connection alone could spark bigger things for the city down the road.
8. Las Vegas: The citizens of Las Vegas finally received their dream of getting a professional sports team when the NHL decided to expand to Vegas for this upcoming season. In addition, the NFL agreed to move the Raiders from Oakland to Las Vegas by the earliest of 2018.
Back in 2004, Vegas was a candidate when the Expos were looking to relocate from Montreal. Overall, Vegas offers as a viable destination for an expansion MLB team, given the amount of tourists that come through there. If the city would receive a team however, it would require them to build a retractable roof stadium due to the heat in the summer, much like in Arizona.
7. Memphis/Nashville: The state of Tennessee has a love affair with sports. The Tennessee Titans filled up 93.5 percent of its’ stadium capacity last season. The Memphis Grizzlies filled up 91.2 percent of their arena capacity, plus the Nashville Predators sold out every single game in 2017. Tennessee offers a minor league team called the Nashville Sounds, which has upheld the title of having the best attendance in the entire Pacific Coast League. With these massive and stellar attendances for their other professional teams, it makes logical sense that state of Tennessee could support an MLB franchise.
6. New Orleans: New Orleans is a great place to build a ballpark for a newly established MLB franchise. Building it similar to San Francisco’s AT&T Park near the bay would make it a more iconic home venue. The New Orleans Saints sold out every game last season, and the Pelicans reached a 94.1 percent attendance rate in 2017. When it’s not competing with the football program, the LSU Tigers contain a powerhouse baseball program which has won five national championships. So, obviously the sport’s following down south shouldn’t be a problem.
5. San Antonio: Having a third team in the state of Texas would be perfect for the sport. Texas would be divided with a team in Arlington, Houston and San Antonio. The Spurs are riding an impressive sellout streak and have high TV ratings every year. Having an MLB team would help people get through the NBA offseason and that would help get a strong fan base. They would have to build a retractable roof stadium due to that Texas heat though first.
4. San Jose: The Oakland Athletics were about to move to San Jose a few years ago, but the court rejected their bid to relocate the franchise. San Jose is one the biggest cities in the United State by population, and their NHL team, the Sharks, carries a strong following. California is a stomping ground for baseball, already enriched by franchises such as the San Diego Padres, Oakland A’s, San Francisco Giants, Los Angeles Dodgers and Anaheim Angels. What’s the drawbacks of adding just one more?
3. Charlotte: Baseball is a very popular sport in the south. College Baseball has flourished in the Carolinas with college programs such as North Carolina, South Carolina and Coastal Carolina reaching top-tier levels.
While there is not a major, nor minor league team in the Carolinas – and the Atlanta Braves being the nearest franchise, the two dominant pro teams are the Carolina Panthers and Charlotte Hornets. Last season, both the Panthers and Hornets finished in the Top 10 of league attendance respectively. Charlotte possesses a flourishing market and a proud fan base for an MLB team. Not to mention, a Charlotte vs. Atlanta rivalry would be great for the game of baseball.
2. Montreal: The Expos were an MLB team from 1969-2004, however due to poor attendance and struggling management Montreal was forced to relocate to Washington D.C. The problem that the first go-around suffered from was their improper stadium maintenance. Olympic Stadium, which was the home of the Expos since 1977, was not suited for baseball and was unable to handle the mammoth crowds.
Remember, Montréal is the second biggest market in Canada behind Toronto. Building a new ballpark that is pertinent to the city’s population and geography would create a resounding atmosphere. .
1. Louisville: Louisville is 29th in the United States in population and yet no pro sports team has come into this market. College sports flourish strongly here with the Louisville Cardinals selling out every home football and basketball game. The Kentucky Derby is also one of the biggest sporting events in the world. Out of the four major sports leagues, the MLB would be the most popular in Louisville mainly because of the attractions. Louisville offers a Triple-A team as well as the infamous Louisville Slugger bat company. There’s no doubt that this city would draw top attendance if granted an MLB franchise.