Which US cities could get an MLB team?

Credit: Huffinton Post

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.

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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