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Top markets that could support more pro sports


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Top markets that could support more pro sports

Which metros may be over-extended?

G. Scott Thomas

Los Angeles seems to have everything a marketing executive could want. It's big (metro population: 17.5 million) and loaded (combined annual income: almost $600 billion).

But it doesn't have pro football.

It should, though. Los Angeles is the most attractive place in America to put a new professional sports team, specifically a National Football League team, as determined by a Bizjournals.com study.

Tampa-St. Petersburg, on the other hand, is the most overextended sports market, according to the study. The total amount of personal income the region generates is inadequate for its current teams, let alone any new ones.

Bizjournals.com analyzed 179 markets across America to determine if they have the ability to support more professional teams in baseball, football, basketball, hockey and soccer. To view how all markets in the study compare in the study, click here.

Los Angeles, which already has eight franchises in the other four sports, has been out of the NFL since 1995, when the Rams and Raiders moved to St. Louis and Oakland, respectively.

The total personal income of the 13-county Los Angeles market is large enough to support not just one NFL team, but seven, based on Bizjournals.com's analysis. Total personal income is the sum of all money earned by all residents of an area in a year.

Behind L.A. on the list of best sites for new teams are Philadelphia, Hartford, Las Vegas and Portland, Ore. (To view the 10 most attractive markets, click here.)

At the opposite end of the scale is Tampa-St. Petersburg, which would need another $82.3 billion in total personal income to provide an adequate base for its three existing franchises.

The shortfall doesn't necessarily mean that any of Tampa Bay's teams will move or fold. But it's a reliable sign that the teams can expect continued volatility in attendance and revenues.

The Tampa Bay Devil Rays, for example, ranked last in Major League Baseball in attendance in 2005. They drew 1.1 million fans to their home games, less than half average for a MLB team of 2.5 million fans.

Following Tampa-St. Petersburg on the list of overburdened sports markets are Phoenix, Denver, Pittsburgh and Kansas City. (To view the 10 most overextended markets, click here.)

Bizjournals.com used data on team revenues and ticket prices to estimate how much total personal income a market needs to support a pro sports team. A Major League Baseball team, for example, requires an income base of at least $89.2 billion.

Baseball is the most expensive of the five sports. Major League Soccer is the least expensive, requiring a minimum total personal income of $16.1 billion. Bizjournals.com estimates the threshold for other leagues as: National Basketball Association, $38.4 billion; National Hockey League, $35.7 billion; and National Football League, $33.0 billion.

The study calculated each market's remaining capacity for pro sports by taking the area's total personal income and subtracting the amounts needed to support its existing big-league teams. (Further details on the methodology are available here.)

Here's how many markets qualified for each league:

    * Major League Soccer: 73

    * National Football League: 30

    * National Hockey League: 23

    * National Basketball Association: 19

    * Major League Baseball: 0

The total income support required for baseball is so high that no new markets could support an expansion or relocating team. But the study found two existing markets that could support additional teams. Northern New Jersey (part of the New York City market) and San Bernardino-Riverside (part of the Los Angeles market), when considered on their own, would have sufficient total personal income for MLB franchises.

Economic capacity was the focus of the Bizjournals.com study, but other considerations would obviously be important in any decision to expand or relocate a franchise. Among them would be proximity to existing teams, the availability of stadiums or arenas, and unique local factors (such as the prominence of gambling in Las Vegas).

TOP 10 Overextended Markets

1. Tampa

2. Phoenix

3. Denver

4. Pittsburgh

5. Kansas City

6. St. Louis

7. Milwaukee

8. Cincinnati

9. Buffalo

10. Twin Cities

Top 10 Matches for Pro Sports Expansion

1. Los Angeles, NFL

2. Philadelphia, MLS

3. Hartford, NHL

4. Las Vegas, NBA

5. Portland, NFL

6. Oklahoma City, NBA

7. Rochester, MLS

8. Norfolk, NBA

9. Northern New Jersey, MLB

10. San Bernardino-Riverside, MLB

Interesting to say the least.

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That's interesting. I've thought for ages that Philadelphia could support multiple teams in the same sport. Of the "big four", I'd love to see another MLB team here. Not only are people longing for another option besides the Phillies, I think even if the Phillies ever get their act together, two big-league teams could flourish in this city.

Football and hockey would both have trouble, only because of the fierce loyalties already forged for the Eagles and Flyers. A second team in either of those sports would kind of be like the LA Clippers of Philadelphia. Still supported and profitable, but not beloved.

I'm not sure how the Warriors / Sixers co-existed, and I really can't predict how a second basketball team would do here.

MLS would be a huge success, though. There are plenty of venues, and a huge fan base that would embrace an outdoor soccer team.

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interesting, they say Milwaukee and Cincy, both with only two major teams, are overextended. in Milwaukee's case, the Bucks and Brewers only really have to compete for fan dollars in April, and then not that much anyways with the difference in season structures. in Cincy's case, the Bengals and Reds' seasons overlap a little more, and again with season structures being notably different, competing for the fan dollar's only an issue once a week, at most.

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I'm not sure how the Warriors / Sixers co-existed, and I really can't predict how a second basketball team would do here.

They didn't-Nationals moved to Philly after Warriors moved to San Francisco.

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10. San Bernardino-Riverside, MLB

The very last thing SoCal needs is another MLB Team. Central California shoulr be next, way before New Jersey or SoCal

I'd say California should be happy with one-sixth of the major leagues and leave it at that.

Have you ever been to California? Californians are never satisfied with anything. California always has the best yet Californians still bitch and moan that they want more. If we had it our way California would have six-sixths of the Major leagues :P

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Take a lot of this study with a grain of salt. As discussed in the Hartford NHL thread, the other studies/stories linked to the main story say that Little Rock, Des Moines and Harrisburg (among others) could support NFL teams because there is adequate "total personal income" available. Facts like the availability of facilities, proximity of other teams/markets (like the proximity of Pittsburgh, Philadelphia and Baltimore to Harrisburg) and preexisting rooting interests (Steelers and Eagles in Harrisburg, for example) were not considered.

If figuring out where teams could thrive/survive were as simple as the story suggests, the leagues would have started the shuffle a long time ago. Obviously it is not that simple, otherwise the Penguins would just move to Harrisburg/Hershey (where they would have to play in a 9,000 seat arena, like the Giant Center or the State Farm Show Arena).

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YEAH! Finally Rochester, NY gets some R-E-S-P-E-C-T. Sure, we haven't had a major league sports team since the 1950s, and the idea that MLS can be considered a "Major Sports League" in America is pretty ridiculous (last time I checked, it was above the WNBA and Arena Football on the Sports depth chart, but was still behind Minor League Baseball, the PGA, the LPGA, NASCAR, most NCAA team sports and the Coney Island Hotdog Eating Contest), but finally, someone recognizes that we deserve a return to a top-level team! Nevermind that it's soccer, which is the suckiest sport in the world and is even suckier in America, but at least it would get the word "Rochester" on the bottomline of ESPN News!

Rochester is a great sports town that supports it's Baseball Team, Soccer team, Basketball team, Hockey team and lacrosse teams very well, it has been dubbed "Baseball City, USA", "Soccer City, USA" and "Greatest Minor League Sports City". It truly is a sports town, we deserve a Major League sports team, even if it is sucky soccer.

Adding to that, the Rhinos have been one of the most successful Soccer teams in America, on the field and in the stands. They have outdrawn teams in citys far bigger then Rochester, such as Toronto.

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Adding to that, the Rhinos have been one of the most successful Soccer teams in America, on the field and in the stands. They have outdrawn teams in citys far bigger then Rochester, such as Toronto.

Get over it. MLS had a choice, appeal to the Canadian market of 30,000,000 people or appeal to the Central Upstate New York market of 1,500,000.

Remember a team in Toronto means new national deals with national networks, brands, merchandisers... A team in Rochester means free Kodak film and flowers galore.

Anyways, Toronto NFL not on the list? One day...

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I cant see portland with an NFL team because so many oregon fans are seahawks fans. You dont want to be on I-5 going north between portland and seattle on a sunday because of the fans traveling to seahawks games.

I could however, see MLB possibly there, because of the sucess of AAA teams in the area.

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Is everyone here in favor of expansion? It seems to me the play in the NFL and MLB is pretty much diluted and could use a couple of teams to fold to get rid of the bubble players. The NBA and NHL don't have the dilution problem as much with the stream of European players coming in, but they could easily find themselves in the same position if they started letting more players in the league through expansion. Is it better to have a quality league with fewer teams or a larger less-quality league with more regional teams to root for? I prefer quality over quantity.

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