Oklahoma City, OK
2014 Population: 579,999
Growth Rate: +7.00%
Here’s another city with a Triple-A team, the Oklahoma City Dodgers. OKC has the lowest population of any of the cities that could be on the league’s radar. Oklahoma has only one professional sports team, the Thunder. Without Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, the Zombie Sonics would probably not be the smashing success they are. Even with those two superstars, the Thunder are still forced to play ball with a different set of financial rules than big-market teams.
Baseball would probably be unwilling to go down this path with a city like Oklahoma City. You’re walking into, potentially, another Tampa Bay situation with OKC. Small market cities have a hard time sustaining interest in a team at first because the team is often bad for the first few years. With fewer people to draw from, a 90-100 loss team will have a tough time filling their park. What’s more, the Triple-A team the city already has is only middle of the pack in the Pacific Coast League for attendance. Probably best to stay away from OKC, unless the growth rate can be sustained for a few more years. The population growth in the region has been largely driven by the oil boom, but with a glut of oil worldwide, those jobs may begin to dry up. On the plus side, adding a team in Oklahoma would make it easier for many Midwesterners to enjoy a game live and in person.