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Why No Expansion Cities in the East?


Saint Zephyr III

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This is as much of a social question as a sports one. In the weekly discussion about "Team A is moving from A to B", especially with the Oklahoma City Thunder strutting around in their first season, I'm curious...

Why aren't there barely any cities brought up in the East? In the West, for whatever sport, there's Kansas City, Las Vegas, San Diego, Seattle, Los Angeles, San Antonio, even Salt Lake City.

In the East, I have only heard of risky novice cities like Louisville, Birmingham, Norfolk, and hardly anything else. If anything, it seems like teams in the East want to head west.

I may be talking out of my rear, but is the East really that sparse for expansion?

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Well most of the major Eastern cities have teams. Some I can think off the top of my head that don't have an NBA team(that's what were talking about, correct?)is Tampa, and Pittsburgh. You can tell because there are 15 teams more East than New Orleans, and Memphis.

Same with the NHL. I mean Detroit, Nashville, and Columbus are in the West?!Come on

Also I don't know if this has something to do with it. But bringing teams to open regions. No other major teams in Portland, SLC, OKC, Sacramento, Memphis, and San Antonio(wow that's more than I thought I could name)

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Pretty much all the leagues had their beginnings solely in the East and eastern Midwest (Missouri east to Ohio). So the West was the only place to go for expansion. And since the east is more densely populated, those cities without teams is partly due to being close to other cities that do (Tampa in the NBA: Orlando is a little too close to Tampa to really give it a chance for a team). As mentioned previously, you got teams in Detroit and Columbus in the west (Hell, Toronto used to be), and in the NFL, you have both Missouri teams in the West. Essentially, in the sportsworld, the west is still being discovered.

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I asked because, if and when the next round of expansion happens for the NBA, the only way it could work is if Memphis, which itself could move, would have to be put in the Eastern Conference. Even New Orleans is at risk to be switched.

Let's say Kansas City finally gets a team. We'll call them the Kansas City Knights.

WESTERN

Midwest -

San Antonio

Dallas

Houston

New Orleans

Denver

Utah

Minnesota

Kansas City

Pacific

L.A. Lakers

Sacramento

Portland

L.A. Clippers

Seattle

Golden State

Phoenix

Oklahoma City

EASTERN

Atlantic -

New Jersey

Miami

New York

Boston

Philadelphia

Washington

Orlando

Charlotte

Central -

Indiana

Detroit

Memphis

Milwaukee

Cleveland

Toronto

Atlanta

Chicago

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Others have brought up the better reasons. You expand to where the population is generally growing, not shrinking. For the most part, the only fast growing regions in the East are just offshoots of current major league markets and current owners don't necessarily want to break up their broadcast territory.

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If the NBA does expand, Minnesota should be the one to move to the Eastern Conference. (Why is it when anyone does a proposed realignment of the NBA, they automatically want to move Memphis or New Orleans east?) In fact, I would do the realignment like this:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Atlantic-Boston, Brooklyn(it's gonna happen people), New York, Philadelphia, Toronto

Southern-Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, Washington

Central-Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee, Minnesota

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Pacific-Golden State, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle

Southwest-Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio

Midwest-Denver, Kansas City, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Utah

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I think a lot of expansion ties in to a growing city wanting to become a "big league" city. Most of the established big league cities were in the northeast and midwest, ergo, most expansion teams since WWII have been in the south and west.

Here is a brief something I wrote on expansion and "big league cities" some time ago (and updated just for today).

Key points are bolded:

BIG LEAGUE CITIES

Prior to WWII:

1. New York

2. Chicago

3. Philadelphia

4. Pittsburgh

5. Boston

6. Washington

7. St. Louis

8. Detroit

9. Cleveland

10. Cincinnati

11. Green Bay

Prior to WWII, there were 11 markets for ?big-league? professional sports in the U.S. -- 10 major ones and one unusual minor one which still exists today-- Green Bay, Wisconsin, home of the Packers. All of the other listed cities were home to the established NL and AL of baseball, several featured NFL football teams, and all represented the large cities of the east and midwest. Washington was the only team south of the Mason-Dixon Line, and St. Louis on the Mississippi River was the only team west of that river.

The 40s:

1. Los Angeles

2. San Francisco

3. Minnesota

Although observers like to point to the 1957 move of the Giants and Dodgers to California as the pivotal shift in expanding franchises out of the midwest and northeast, the shift actually began a decade earlier, with the post-war shift of the NFL?s Cleveland Rams to L.A. and the formation of the San Francisco 49ers in the AAFC (the team was later to be absorbed into the NFL), as well as the Minneaplois Lakers being present during the formation of the NBA.

The 50s:

1. Baltimore

2. Milwaukee

3. Kansas City

The above three cites entered the big leagues for good in the 50s, with all of them receiving relocated baseball teams and Baltimore also receiving its Colts football team.

The 60s

1. Dallas

2. Houston

3. Denver

4. Buffalo

5. San Diego

6. Atlanta

7. Miami

8. New Orleans

9. Seattle

10. Phoenix

11. Indianapolis

12. (Oakland)

13. (Anaheim/California)

The sixties showed the greatest increase in sports teams for cities. With the exception of Indianapolis and Buffalo, all were from the burgeoning cities of the South and West. There were also movements to areas considered suburbs or ?sister cities?, but these teams established and maintained their own identity (and name) separate from that of the majority city.

Many of these new cities? teams were expansion franchises. Some cities, like Atlanta, San Diego, and Oakland, featured both expansion franchises AND relocating teams. There was also in increase in teams due to the creation of two new leagues, the AFL and ABA, each of which would put teams in the established sports leagues.

The 70s

1. Portland

2. San Antonio

3. Tampa Bay

4. Utah

5. (New Jersey)

The pace slowed down in the seventies, with only 4 new metro areas entering the ranks of the pros and one suburban area (NJ) entering the pros-- in name as well as location-- for good.

The 80s

1. Charlotte

2. Orlando

3. Sacramento

The pace slowed even more in the eighties, with the only major expansion being a four-team expansion of the NBA in the late 1980s. Two of the teams, Charlotte and Orlando, were new to the pro ranks. The third city to enter the big leagues was Sacramento, as a result of a NBA franchise shift.

The 90s

1. (San Jose)

2. Jacksonville

3. Raleigh-Durham

4. Nashville

5. Columbus

During the 90s, a spate of expansions and relocations occurred. The NFL expanded by 4 teams (with the last team awarded in 1999 but not beginning play until 2002) and had 4 team relocations. Major League Baseball expanded by 4 teams. The NHL expanded by an amazing 9 teams (Columbus and Minnesota were announced but would not begin play until 2000) and had 4 team relocations. The NBA also expanded into Canada, placing teams in Vancouver and Toronto.

The 00s

1. Memphis

2. Oklahoma City

During the aught years, the only two new big league areas came as a result of franchise relocations in the NBA. After many years of trying, in 2001 Memphis finally became a big-league city by agreeing to build a new arena for the relocated Vancouver Grizzlies of the NBA. Oklahoma City, which had temporarily hosted the New Orleans Hornets in the 2 years following that city?s devastation by Hurricane Katrina, became home to the former Seattle Supersonics after that club was purchased in 2007 and relocated in 2008.

DISCLAIMER: the above lists only refer to cities that have CONSISTENTLY been in the big leagues and remain in the big leagues TODAY. I am well aware of early teams in the NFL and MLB in places such as Louisville, Duluth and Dayton, much less the Brooklyn Dodgers or Hartford Whalers. This list considers which decade those cities became "big league" cities for good.

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I expect the next set of growing markets to spring up in either Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada. However, I think Nevada has the most potential since it is still the fastest-growing state in the nation. The "barren" market would be too tantalizing. New Mexico isn't close enough yet, and an Arizonian market would have to compete with Phoenix/Glendale.

If the NBA does expand beyond 32 teams, I think Minnesota would be pushed into the East. It's just that New Orleans and Memphis are brought up because they have both moved and their fanbase are still setting up, so a Conference move wouldn't be as disruptive as it would be for Minnesota.

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I expect the next set of growing markets to spring up in either Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada. However, I think Nevada has the most potential since it is still the fastest-growing state in the nation. The "barren" market would be too tantalizing. New Mexico isn't close enough yet, and an Arizonian market would have to compete with Phoenix/Glendale.

If the NBA does expand beyond 32 teams, I think Minnesota would be pushed into the East. It's just that New Orleans and Memphis are brought up because they have both moved and their fanbase are still setting up, so a Conference move wouldn't be as disruptive as it would be for Minnesota.

That's just it with the Phoenix metro Market. Right now in Arizona the Major League cities would have to be Phoenix and Glendale. Tucson hit a big snag losing the Sidewinders to Reno and will lose Spring Training teams such as the Colorado Rockies and Arizona Diamondbacks in the near future. The next big minor league market on the other hand will be the Prescott Valley area as they have a CHL, AIFA and at the moment are vying for a NBDL and in the near future Arizona Diamondbacks would like to have a team in this area for either a AA or AAA baseball francise. I would say as far as major league markets other than the MLS the Phoenix metro area is pretty much tapped out

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I expect the next set of growing markets to spring up in either Arizona, New Mexico, or Nevada. However, I think Nevada has the most potential since it is still the fastest-growing state in the nation.

I wouldn't say "Nevada" is a market, but I clearly agree that Las Vegas is likely to become the NEXT big-league city/market.

After that, the other possibilities are:

-- Tidewater Virginia area

-- Louisville

-- Hartford, CT (actually a return to the bigs...)

strangely enough, all of which are in what we would consider the east and certainly in the eastern time zone

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If the NBA does expand, Minnesota should be the one to move to the Eastern Conference. (Why is it when anyone does a proposed realignment of the NBA, they automatically want to move Memphis or New Orleans east?) In fact, I would do the realignment like this:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Atlantic-Boston, Brooklyn(it's gonna happen people), New York, Philadelphia, Toronto

Southern-Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, Washington

Central-Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee, Minnesota

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Pacific-Golden State, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle

Southwest-Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio

Midwest-Denver, Kansas City, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Utah

Agreed. That was the NBA's and NHL's big mistake when they returned to Minnesota, not putting them in a division with their natural Midwestern rival cities.

Hey, what about Fargo as a major league market? :P

I don't think so. However I can see Fargo as an AHL market someday. In fact if Houston ever gets an NHL team the Wild might take the opportunity to shift their top farm team a lot closer to home.

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If the NBA does expand, Minnesota should be the one to move to the Eastern Conference. (Why is it when anyone does a proposed realignment of the NBA, they automatically want to move Memphis or New Orleans east?) In fact, I would do the realignment like this:

EASTERN CONFERENCE:

Atlantic-Boston, Brooklyn(it's gonna happen people), New York, Philadelphia, Toronto

Southern-Atlanta, Charlotte, Miami, Orlando, Washington

Central-Chicago, Cleveland, Detroit, Indiana, Milwaukee, Minnesota

WESTERN CONFERENCE:

Pacific-Golden State, LA Clippers, LA Lakers, Portland, Sacramento, Seattle

Southwest-Dallas, Houston, New Orleans, Phoenix, San Antonio

Midwest-Denver, Kansas City, Memphis, Oklahoma City, Utah

Agreed. That was the NBA's and NHL's big mistake when they returned to Minnesota, not putting them in a division with their natural Midwestern rival cities.

Hey, what about Fargo as a major league market? :P

I don't think so. However I can see Fargo as an AHL market someday. In fact if Houston ever gets an NHL team the Wild might take the opportunity to shift their top farm team a lot closer to home.

Yep, I don't get this forced pairing (for both the Wolves and Wild) with the Northwest. Growing up in the Chicago area, and now living in Minnesota may make me biased, but the folks here don't seem to care about Portland, Vancouver, Denver, etc., as much as they do Chicago, Detroit, Cleveland, etc. Likely it's the fact that the rivalries have been brewing so long in the other major sports with the NFC Central/North, and AL Central.

And as to Fargo - let's see them support their USHL team long term in their brand new 5000 seat building first before saying that they deserve an AHL team. (there's a long history of not supporting Jr. hockey in that town) If they can do that, then maybe...

Moose

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