Which US cities could get an MLB team?

Credit: milb.com

Charlotte, NC
2014 Population: 809,958
Growth Rate: +10.74%

Yowza! Charlotte and the Research Triangle of Durham, Chapel Hill, and Raleigh, North Carolina is experiencing hyper growth in the population department. What’s more, many people flocking into the region are coming for high-salary jobs in fields like banking, medicine, engineering, and biotechnology. That means plenty of money for baseball tickets!

Charlotte is almost four hours from Atlanta and over six hours from Washington, D.C. If baseball wants to capitalize on one of the final huge population bases without a team, Charlotte is the place to be. There is already a Triple-A team that calls the city home, the Knights. Their downtown park is beautiful, and could likely serve as a good starting ground for building up to an MLB-sized stadium.

The Knights had the highest average crowd in the International League last year. Clearly the demand for baseball is there to an extent. One downside to the city as a home for Major League Baseball could be the city and state’s poor showing with expansion NBA and NHL franchises. The Carolina Hurricanes (down in Raleigh) of the NHL do not draw, and neither do the Charlotte Bobcats/Hornets/Fighting Michael Jordans of the NBA (second try).

Many of the city’s transplants may already have deep-seated allegiances to other baseball teams. The Atlanta Braves face a similar problem in their own city. Still, this is a huge market, with two other big cities within range, that should have a baseball team.

4 Responses

  1. Ian Weir

    Charlotte isn’t in the Research Triangle…. The Hurricanes play in Raleigh (which is 3+ hours away), not Charlotte. This is a cool article, but could’ve done more research first.

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  2. David A Marcillo

    While I agree that it is always a shame to see teams move due to an established fan base losing its team, I don’t know if expansion is the way to go just yet. Many teams already have trouble finding five solid arms to fill up a rotation and there aren’t even close to 32 aces out there (kind of similar to the “the NFL can’t expand because teams already have trouble finding a starting QB” argument). While I like the idea of more teams in more places, I think the dilution of talent would lead to a decline in the quality of play overall. Maybe with the increase in international scouting and improved relations with Cuba, more talent will be coming into the league and this won’t be as much of an issue.
    I think the A’s end up moving somewhere relatively nearby like Fremont or Sacramento, and the Rays move to wherever MLB sees an opportunity to gain new fans, maybe something like Charlotte or even Jacksonville. I don’t see the Rays moving too far away though because MLB won’t want to realign the divisions and they definitely don’t want to have a team like the Atlanta Braves in the NL West again.

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  3. John Galt

    I think that Montreal is on the short list, despite the fact that they already lost a team. A lot of the reason they moved is the lack of a good stadium plan and there was no viable potential ownership and I’ve heard that that situation could be worked with now. I would also add Nashville if somehow Charlotte couldn’t happen. Vancouver could work as well.

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