Photo: elisfanclub via Flickr
Even though sports are wildly popular in the United States, only twelve cities in the country have a sports team from all four major leagues.There are surely more cities that have the capacity to support a complete set of franchises comfortably.
While the logistics of bringing franchises into cities are often muddled and difficult to fully understand, it’s fun to think of what a city would be like if it offered something for every sports fan.
Why Los Angeles?: Los Angeles is likely the poster child of all under served sports markets. Having the second biggest population of any city in the country while simultaneously not having an NFL team is more than enough to elevate the City of Angels to a status amongst the most lacking sports towns.
Two NFL franchises that are still very much in operation, the Oakland Raiders and the St. Louis Rams, have both played their home games in LA for stretches of their team's respective existences. The Raiders played at the Memorial Coliseum from 1982 until 1994. The Rams inhabited the city for nearly 50 years, as they played at the Memorial Coliseum from 1946 until 1979 and then at Anaheim Stadium from 1980 until 1994. It's safe to say that 1994 was not a good sports year for Los Angeles.
rumours of teams possibly relocating to Los Angeles, specifically the Minnesota Vikings and the Jacksonville Jaguars, have been reported and discussed for the last few years. It's probably just a matter of time until pigskin finds a home in the Southland.
Why Indianapolis?: Indiana Pacers and Indianapolis Colts home games are often amazing spectacles to behold. They can get just as loud as anywhere else, and their passion rivals what cities like Boston and Chicago consistently exhibit.
On top of that, the Indianapolis 500 is the most popular auto racing event in the country and the area's Hoosiers practically foam at the mouth in anticipation of the event each and every year.
Even though the amount of sports love in the air surrounding Indianapolis is palpable, no NHL franchise or MLB team calls 'The Circle City' home.
Indianapolis has been called 'The Amateur Sports Capital of the World,' and perhaps the city's residents would like to keep it that way, but this could be the only barrier that realistically halts the success of a baseball or hockey team in the area.
Why Seattle?: Not only 'The Emerald City' mourned when the SuperSonics relocated to Oklahoma City. NBA fans in general felt a little something when a town with a lot of basketball history and a long history of general championship futility lost out on a team.
Only the Seahawks and the Mariners are left in Seattle, and even though the city is cool enough to not need to host a ton of games as necessary cultural events, the market and interest for one or two more franchises certainly inhabits Seattle.
As soon as the city or a separate entity fully resolves the need for a new sporting venue to replace the decrepit KeyArena, both a hockey team and a basketball team could move up northwest.
Why Las Vegas?: Perhaps Las Vegas doesn't need any sports teams. The city isn't short on distractions, there's practically no television market, and the population is mostly nomadic so establishing a solid fan base may be too difficult to accumulate. Not only that, since Vegas is the gambling capital of the country and American sports has a frosty relationship with the idea of gambling, no professional team wants the controversy that could come of a close relationship with the city.
On the other hand, what a spectacle it would be! Slot machines in stadium bathrooms, game day tickets would double as scratch-off lottery tickets, and no city would have better halftime shows.
Also, think about all the crazy athlete stories that would come out of this. The already unbelievable stories of athletes behaving badly would get ramped up to a whole new level.
Why Sacramento?: When the Sacramento Kings moving to Los Angeles rumour flared up towards the end of the last NBA season, the cowbell toting, purple clad fanatics from the capital of California were understandably upset.
Like Indianapolis, Sacramento is seriously underrated as far as passionate fan bases go. Ask any NBA player what their least favourite city to face on the road is, and it's almost unanimously Sacramento. Their professional teams not affiliated with the four major sports leagues record sellouts on almost a nightly basis.
At this point, it seems more likely that 'Sac-Town' will lose a team rather than gain one, but we wish it were the other way around. Keep an eye on the Oakland A's. They are looking to build a new stadium, and Sacramento has consistently come up as a possible destination.
Oklahoma City could be an epicentre of the sports world if the success of the Thunder is any indicator
Why Oklahoma City?: Even though the Sonics ordeal was somewhat tragic for some, Oklahoma City embraced their first professional sports team with open arms. Who's to say they wouldn't do that for an NFL or MLB team?
Oklahoma City is safely in Dallas Cowboys country, but considering the popularity of college football in Oklahoma, and their rivalry with all things Texas, it's possible that a new NFL team in OKC would take off right away. Baseball always does well in America's heartland, too.
The TV market is on the small side, but the passion is certainly not.
Why Quebec City?: In general, Canada needs more hockey. Winnipeg getting the Jets back is a start, but there's still work to be done.
Hamilton, Halifax, and Windsor could all surely host an NHL team with no problem. There are a handful of others that could be argued for too, but Quebec City may need one the most.
They were home to the Nordiques from 1972 until 1995, but ever since, the seventh largest city in Canada has been sans hockey.
Nashville, Phoenix, Florida, and Tampa Bay could all be moved north with little protest. What are the owners waiting for?
(Lets give Hamilton a hockey team too)
Why St. Louis?: The Cardinals are huge in St. Louis. Rams games are typically sold out, too. The St. Louis Blues have the seventh best attendance numbers in the NHL. Their NBA team doesn't exist. Perhaps that should be changed.
St. Louis has had three professional basketball teams before. The St. Louis Bombers only lasted from 1946-60, The St. Louis Hawks moved to Atlanta in 1968 and the Spirits of St. Louis didn't survive the NBA-ABA merger in 1976.
30-five years is a long enough absence, don't you think?
Why Pittsburgh?: Pittsburgh's basketball roots run deep. At the turn of the 20th century, Pittsburgh had a successful 'Black Fives' team that won five national championships. In the inaugural NBA season, the Pittsburgh Ironmen were one of the teams, and Pittsburgh Pipers won the first ABA Championship in 1968.
We should also mention that the University of Pittsburgh's men's basketball program is one of the most respected in the nation.
The Steel City has no shortage of sports adoration, and now that there's a new arena up in town, it's high time to bring hoops back to the shores of the Allegheny.
Why Austin? The Texas Longhorns are the undisputed kings of Austin. Would their spot on the top be compromised by a professional team establishing a home within the city limits?
Austin is a warm and welcoming city that loves any excuse to have a good time. Moving an NFL team to the area could make their Sundays just as crazy as their Saturdays. A baseball team would create a new wrinkle to the Texas Rangers- Houston Astros dynamic. A basketball team would probably be the 'it' thing since the large youth population of the city and the appeal of the NBA seems to resonate with younger people more so than baseball and football.
And since Austin prides itself on staying weird, maybe hockey would do well there.
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