Teams should target regional fan bases
Sometimes it’s always best to step back from a situation and admit you’ve made a mistake. What seems like a good fit or idea at first turns out to be a failure.
This week’s case in point: sports franchises that need to relocate from places they shouldn’t have been in the first place.
Who wants to start taking bets on how long the NBA’s newest move, the Oklahoma City Thunder, will last? Does Los Angeles really need both the Lakers and Clippers? Ship the Clippers out to Nevada. Imagine an NBA team in Las Vegas ‘- instant success.’ This writer is still patiently waiting for Jay-Z to buy a majority share of the New Jersey Nets and move them to Brooklyn.
Major League Baseball teams in Florida and Arizona are pointless. MLB holds spring training in those states every year so the locals get their fill of baseball. If you want proof, check out the attendance of the Florida Marlins. Even when the team is doing well, all you can see in the crowd is a sea of empty orange seats. If fans get all that baseball in the spring, why would they want to watch their own teams?
The NHL got out of hand with its expansion to the South. After Wayne Gretzky made hockey a hit in Los Angeles, the Sun Belt expansion was a success in Dallas, San Jose and Anaheim. There is talk about a possible expansion into Kansas City. Really? Wouldn’t the NHL want to stop diluting their talent pool instead of adding another team?
How about moving the Carolina Hurricanes, Atlanta Thrashers, Nashville Predators and Florida Panthers to places that need professional sports? The NHL would be a hit in places such as Maine, the Dakotas, Houston (local bias, I know) and pro hockey-starving Canadian cities.
Kudos to the NFL for getting it right by wisely selecting where all 32 franchises play. OK, maybe it wasn’t a good choice to have a franchise in Jacksonville, Fla., but 31 out of 32 isn’t bad.
Major League Soccer has done a decent job, recently awarding the Sounders to Seattle this upcoming season. Philadelphia will welcome a team in 2010. MLS is hoping jaded basketball fans who miss the Sonics will embrace the Sounders.
The Sounders should maybe play more road games to avoid all that Seattle rain, don’t you think?