kimball

Failed Franchise Expansion & Relocations

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Again, I don't know if this counts, but my program from the 1983 MLB All-Star Game in Comiskey had a 2 page ad spread touting the possibilities should MLB ever expand to Vancouver. I went to a Mariners exhibition game in Vancouver a couple years later and the people of Vancouver were hoping to use it as a convincing point should MLB expand.

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In the NHL

-Vancouver was a rejected expansion bid for 1967.

-After the Montreal Maroons suspended operations they looked at St. Louis but the NHL said no after the fiasco that was the St. Louis Eagles. They then looked at Philadelphia and after failing to meet the deadline to have an arena in place the franchise was cancelled after the 1946-47 season.

- The AHL Cleveland Barons applied in 1952 but could not secure the funding.

-The Blackhawks insisted that St. Louis be a part of the 1967 expansion despite not having any applications for a team there. Baltimore was plan B had not one of the six were able to get off the ground. Baltimore was a candidate for the 1972 and 1974 expansions but Washington joining in 1974 killed any other attempt for an NHL club in Baltimore.

- The Seattle Totems and Denver Spurs looked to join for 1976. The Spurs began play in the WHA for 1975 but "moved" to Ottawa for a couple of weeks in January of 1976 before folding. Seattle didnt have enough financial backing and and the Totems died shortly after. The Seals looked at Seattle before going to Cleveland, while the Capitals looked at Seattle in 1982. The league also looked at Tacoma in the early 80s,

-Milwaukee applied for the 1992 expansion and were favorites with the new Bradley Center but the potential ownership cancelled the application.

 -Before the WHA-NHL merger in 1979 there was a previous merger attempt that included the Oilers, Whalers, Nordiques and Jets along with the Cincinnati Stingers and the Houston Aeros. NHL owners voted no on that deal. As a result of not getting in the Aeros folded.

- The Blues almost went to Saskatoon in the early 80s.

 

In the WHA-

The Oilers were originally going to be the Edmonton Oil Kings while a separate franchise was in Calgary for 1972. When the Calgary team was moved to Cleveland instead the Oil Kings planned to become the Alberta Oilers and play home games in both Edmonton and Calgary. The Oilers ended up only playing games in Edmonton and then changed their name to the Edmonton Oilers for 1973

- The Calgary Broncos were a founding club for the league in 1972 but the team was moved to Cleveland instead. The Cleveland Crusaders were set to move to Hollywood, Florida outside of Miami to become the Florida Breakers for 1976 but the team move fell through and they became the second incarnation of the Minnesota Fighting Saints.

-The Houston Aeros were originally intended for Dayton but couldnt find a suitable arena.

- The Los Angeles Sharks were originally the Aces but took the Sharks name once the original San Francisco club moved to Quebec.

- The league awarded a team to Ontario for 1972 intended for Toronto. The team briefly looked at Hamilton after they were unable to get a suitable lease at the Gardens. They settled with Ottawa instead. The Nationals ended up playing their home playoff games in Toronto and moved there permanently after the season.

- The Philadelphia Blazers were intended for Miami as the Screaming Eagles.

- The Nordiques were originally intended for San Francisco as the Sharks, but were relocated to Quebec prior to the first season. The Los Angeles club took the Sharks name instead.

- In 1978 the San Diego Mariners were intending to move to Melbourne, Florida but after they couldnt find a suitable arena the looked to become the second attempt of the Florida Breakers in Hollywood. After that fell apart a new owner tried to buy the team to play as the Florida IceGators. After three failed attempts to move to Florida, the Mariners folded just before training camp for the 1977-78 season.

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1 hour ago, Red Wolf said:

I was clearly too young for all the potential Tampa Bay teams. I didn't realize they were to baseball what Los Angeles was to the NFL until recently. 

They had a stadium built in 1990 long before any team was awarded, so they were the clear relocation threat.

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The NBA had several phantom teams.

-Baltimore for 1961

-Chicago for 1950

-Cleveland for 1961

-Houston for 1970

-Milwaukee for 1949

-Pittsburgh for 1960

-Toronto for 1975

-Buffalo for 1946

-Indianapolis for 1946

- Sacramento almost moved to Seattle and Anaheim before getting a new arena.

-Louisville tried to lure the Rockets, Grizzlies and Hornets in the 1990s

-Pittsburgh was mentioned as a possible relocation for the Pistons around 2010.

 

The ABA had a few too

-Memphis moved to Baltimore in 1975 and became the Hustlers but the league made them pick a different name. They became the Claws and after 3 preseason games the Claws folded.

-Kansas City was a founding franchise but moved to Denver to become the Larks. The Larks quickly became the Rockets before the season started. The Rockets became the Nuggets in 1974.

-The New Orleans Buccaneers were going to become a regional franchise in 1970 and become the Louisiana Buccaneers with home games in New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Monroe and Lafayette. The team moved to Memphis instead.

- The New Jersey Americans were intended for New York but couldnt get a suitable arena

-Had the ABA survived to see the 1976-77 season St. Louis would have moved to Salt Lake replacing the Stars and become the Utah Rockies. Kentucky was looking at Cincinnati and Buffalo.

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6 minutes ago, Dilbert said:

The NBA had several phantom teams.

-Baltimore for 1961

-Chicago for 1950

-Cleveland for 1961

-Houston for 1970

-Milwaukee for 1949

-Pittsburgh for 1960

-Toronto for 1975

-Buffalo for 1946

-Indianapolis for 1946

- Sacramento almost moved to Seattle and Anaheim before getting a new arena.

-Louisville tried to lure the Rockets, Grizzlies and Hornets in the 1990s

-Pittsburgh was mentioned as a possible relocation for the Pistons around 2010.

 

The ABA had a few too

-Memphis moved to Baltimore in 1975 and became the Hustlers but the league made them pick a different name. They became the Claws and after 3 preseason games the Claws folded.

-Kansas City was a founding franchise but moved to Denver to become the Larks. The Larks quickly became the Rockets before the season started. The Rockets became the Nuggets in 1974.

-The New Orleans Buccaneers were going to become a regional franchise in 1970 and become the Louisiana Buccaneers with home games in New Orleans, Shreveport, Baton Rouge, Monroe and Lafayette. The team moved to Memphis instead.

- The New Jersey Americans were intended for New York but couldnt get a suitable arena

-Had the ABA survived to see the 1976-77 season St. Louis would have moved to Salt Lake replacing the Stars and become the Utah Rockies. Kentucky was looking at Cincinnati and Buffalo.

Schenectady NY was all but awarded an ABA team for the 1974-75 season, called the Tri-City Comets.  The franchise become a phantom team when city leaders couldn't agree on financials.

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In the CFL, the Atlantic Schooners would have been the league's 10th team in 1984 if they worked out a stadium deal.

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3 hours ago, Dilbert said:

-Yankees looked at East Rutherford on two occasions around 1971 and 1989. Yankees also looked at New Orleans in 1989.

 

No, they didn’t.  They really didn’t. 

 

3 hours ago, Dilbert said:

-White Sox looked at permanently moving to Milwaukee in 1970 after playing a handful of games there in 1968-69. 

 

More than that - Bud Selig had a deal to buy the Sox (those handful of Milwaukee games constituted fully 1/3 of the club’s home attendance in 1969), but the AL learned from the NL’s New York debacle and decided not to abandon the nation’s second-largest city. 

 

3 hours ago, Dilbert said:

-The Royals were a candidate to move to the NL in 1998 but Milwaukee went instead.

 

This one I’ll never understand.   I’m grateful the Royals chose not to move when given the first crack at it, but I still don’t understand that decision. 

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3 hours ago, Dilbert said:

-The Angels almost went to Long Beach in 1966 but ultimately went to Anaheim.

 

Long Beach was apparently Gene Autry's first choice to become the new home of the Angels after he failed to get a new ballpark built for the team in Los Angeles. However, given that the City of Long Beach was going to be ponying-up the dough to build the Angels their new ballpark, city officials were insistent that the team be named the Long Beach Angels. Autry wouldn't agree to it, which put the kibosh on the deal.

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42 minutes ago, Brian in Boston said:

 

Long Beach was apparently Gene Autry's first choice to become the new home of the Angels after he failed to get a new ballpark built for the team in Los Angeles. However, given that the City of Long Beach was going to be ponying-up the dough to build the Angels their new ballpark, city officials were insistent that the team be named the Long Beach Angels. Autry wouldn't agree to it, which put the kibosh on the deal.

 

Heh. Funny how that works.

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Seattle in early 90's NHL expansion. Sonics owner Barry Ackerley was part of the group but backstabbed them to the expansion committee by dropping out of the race and not telling anyone else in the ownership group. 

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The Coyotes were a few dead firefighters away from moving to Seattle.

 

If that sounds offensive, it's more offensive that Glendale Council compared actual heroism to NHL hucksterism to keep unloved hockey in Arizona when it could have been politely ignored in Seattle.

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Penguins almost moved to Kansas City in the early 2000's. I believe the Islanders and Predators were rumoured to be looking at KC at one point as well.

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9 hours ago, Dilbert said:

the Capitals looked at Seattle in 1982.

 

Never heard about that one.

 

9 hours ago, Dilbert said:

The Houston Aeros were originally intended for Dayton but couldnt find a suitable arena.

 

Also, in 1978, the Aeros tried to merge with the Colorado Rockies (they would have stayed in Houston). However, the deal fell apart, and Colorado's owner eventually sold them to John McMullen (who moved them to NJ in 1982).

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14 hours ago, DnBronc said:

Also, in 1978, the Aeros tried to merge with the Colorado Rockies (they would have stayed in Houston). However, the deal fell apart, and Colorado's owner eventually sold them to John McMullen (who moved them to NJ in 1982).

 

That's not correct, as at the time the Colorado Rockies and Houston Aeros were in two different leagues (the NHL and the WHA, respectively).

 

What did happen was that Houston Aeros owner Ken Schnitzer, after finding out that he would not be included in a merger, campaigned to be allowed to purchase an existing NHL club and relocate it to Houston.  The one he tried purchase and move was the Cleveland Barons, who were on the verge of folding.   However, NHL owners instead opted to approve a proposal from the owners of the Minnesota North Stars to buy the Barons franchise and "merge" it with their own.

 

The Aeros subsequently folded in July 1978 and did not participate in the last WHA season, and the WHA-NHL merger did not occur until the 1979-80 season.

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32 minutes ago, B-Rich said:

 

That's not correct, as at the time the Colorado Rockies and Houston Aeros were in two different leagues (the NHL and the WHA, respectively).

 

What did happen was that Houston Aeros owner Ken Schnitzer, after finding out that he would not be included in a merger, campaigned to be allowed to purchase an existing NHL club and relocate it to Houston.  The one he tried purchase and move was the Cleveland Barons, who were on the verge of folding.   However, NHL owners instead opted to approve a proposal from the owners of the Minnesota North Stars to buy the Barons franchise and "merge" it with their own.

 

The Aeros subsequently folded in July 1978 and did not participate in the last WHA season, and the WHA-NHL merger did not occur until the 1979-80 season.

 

OK. Fair enough. I guess I got the wrong info. I was watching a video on Houston Aeros history (it is down now), and it mentioned something about how the Aeros tried to merge with the Colorado Rockies and move them to Houston.

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On 5/7/2018 at 11:16 AM, NicDB said:


There was at least one attempt to buy the Bucks in the mid 1980s and move them to Tampa.  But that ended when Herb Kohl stepped in and bought the team.

This is the first time that I've ever heard of such an attempt.  Why would the Bucks move from the smallest venue in the NBA, to one of two even smaller ones in Tampa with no plan for arena plan in the city or county for another five years and that one was the private attempt to build Tampa Coliseum on the grounds of Al Lopez Field, next to Tampa Stadium. 

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On 5/7/2018 at 11:46 AM, BringBackTheVet said:

“Hampton Roads Rhinos”??

Yes sir.  Would've had an arena next to Harbor Park in Norfolk.  Plans fell through, cause our governments are SUPER picky, so we missed out.  Would be cool, though.

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