Top candidate cities for MLB expansion by three different metrics

It has been a very long time since Main League Baseball expanded into a brand new market. MLB expanded to 4 new cities within the Nineties—two in 1993 and two in 1998—however a quarter-century has handed for the reason that final growth and MLB stays at 30 groups.

However occasions are altering. Enlargement into the subsequent decade will not be a query of “if” however a query of “when”. There are two major driving forces for this, though they’re either side of the identical coin, and Commissioner Rob Manfred mentioned it final July.

Regardless of its array of issues, league sources say baseball has grown right into a sport value greater than $10 billion yearly, up from $8 billion when Manfred grew to become commissioner. The house owners additionally appreciated Manfred’s realignment of the minor leagues in 2020, and up to now decade, franchise scores have greater than quadrupled. Not surprisingly, billionaires would love it, and growth is coming. “I might wish to get to 32 groups,” Manfred informed me.

There was quite a lot of nice writing about when baseball would possibly broaden and why baseball hasn’t expanded but and whether or not or not baseball ought to broaden and what an growth draft would appear to be within the fashionable period and what cities are the candidates, properly, and so forth.

That is the final query I need to talk about, however in a barely completely different manner than I often see it mentioned: We’re bringing the scales to this, child. Realistically, the league might broaden to one in every of 10 cities and it might work. However what are the information higher cities By particular requirements?

So, let’s take a stab at that. The metrics we use are the scale of the Nielsen-defined market space, the inhabitants of the central district, and the space from a competing MLB franchise. We’ll check out the highest two groups by these metrics.

Nielsen DMA

Nielsen Media Analysis is a distinguished media analysis and viewers measurement firm, finest recognized for its Nielsen scores. Nielsen divides the US into DMA areas, or particular market areas, which finally measures how a lot TV viewership is powerful for a area. To cite Nielsen herself:

DMAs (Specified Market Space) are the geographic areas in the US through which home tv viewership is measured by Nielsen. DMA knowledge is important for any marketer, researcher, or group looking for to make use of unified geographic areas of their enterprise.

A DMA is a set of counties and zip codes that make up an unique geographic space the place the overall hours watched are dominated by tv stations within the native market. There are 210 DMAs overlaying the complete American continent, Hawaii, and elements of Alaska.

DMAs are measured in quantity by Position It’s in a unfastened geographic space and thus can differ from town’s metro inhabitants. You will discover a file Record of 2022 Nielsen DMA Rankings is right here. Winners:


  • DMA Rank: 17
  • Dammam city space: 1.775 million properties

In principle, Orlando is without doubt one of the candidates for growth. It’s the solely metropolis on this record that ranks twenty fifth in each DMA measurement and metro inhabitants. It has heat climate and is without doubt one of the greatest vacationer locations within the nation due to its Disney and Common parks. Orlando can be dwelling to the NBA workforce, The Magic. Florida can be one of many ten quickest rising US states.

However while you get into the nitty gritty, Orlando does not fairly match the invoice. Downtown Orlando is lower than 100 miles from the house of the Tampa Bay Rays. It is a drawback, because the Lakeland/Winter Haven/Haines areas are more likely to be carefully associated to the rays already. Plus, even with a pleasant new stadium and larger metro, the Miami Marlins struggled to draw crowds for therefore lengthy.


  • DMA Rank: 20
  • Space measurement: 1.502 million properties

Once more, with DMA and inhabitants figures, Sacramento would make quite a lot of sense. Sacramento ranks twentieth in DMA measurement and twenty sixth in metro inhabitants measurement, and has a bigger inhabitants and viewership than half a dozen present MLB groups. He really helps the Sacramento Kings within the NBA.

Sadly for Sacrementons (Sacramentoans?), Sacramento has a few of the similar issues as Orlando. It’s lower than a 100 mile drive from the present MLB workforce and never two, each of that are well-established groups with quite a lot of historical past. MLB will put a file VI Crew in California when there are different alternate options? It seems like a stretch.

metro measurement

You need to put asses within the benches, and no person places an MLB workforce in a metro that may’t assist 81 video games a 12 months. Metro measurement is a giant deal. We use a Metropolitan Statistical Space (MSA) on the discretion of the US Census Bureau It may be simply seen on Wikipedia.


  • MSA ranking: twenty second
  • MSA measurement: 2.701 million

The Charlotte metro is unobtrusively massive, in regards to the measurement of the St. Louis metro. Charlotte herself is one in every of them The quickest rising cities within the nation. Curiously, Charlotte is sort of a duplicate of Kansas Metropolis: each have NFL groups and MLS groups, they usually’re each large enough to personal the Cedar Honest theme park (Charlotte is even higher, they usually have an NBA workforce in addition).

Charlotte ticks all of the bins, to be sincere. With a twenty first Nielsen DMA ranking, its tv viewers is as broad as metro residents. In case you’re on the lookout for a nitpick, you could possibly say that just one metro space has much less TV viewership than Charlotte has three of the Huge 4 sports activities groups. However Milwaukee is doing properly, St. Louis is doing properly till Rams possession has seen L.A. greenback indicators, and there’s no doubt on the earth that KC can assist an NBA or NHL workforce.


  • MSA rank: twenty third
  • MSA quantity: 2.692 million

Immediately behind Charlotte Slots Orlando’s World Inhabitants. Orlando’s execs and cons stay from the earlier part.

By geography

The Earth doesn’t vote nor go to observe baseball video games, however acts as a barrier to the fanbase. Now, it might be simple to decide on Plentywood, Montana, Grass Creek, Wyoming, or one other small city in the course of nowhere. However we’re being rational right here and limiting selections to cities that fall into the highest 50 Each Nielsen DMA measurement and metro inhabitants. The furthest away from the present MLB franchises are:

Las vigas

  • 230 miles from the closest concession
  • DMA Rank: 40
  • Metro rank: 29

Las Vegas is having a second on the earth of sports activities. Up to now few years, the Nationwide Hockey League and the Raiders, who I refuse to consider have left California, have picked up on me. With prime 30 metro measurement and drop like One of many 5 quickest rising US cities Over the subsequent 40 years, there may be loads of cause to consider he might assist a baseball workforce.

However whereas the scale of Las Vegas’ inhabitants is definitely sufficient to assist attendance, TV offers are an enormous supply of earnings for MLB franchises. Sadly for Las Vegas, it lags behind a couple of rivals on this space as a result of, properly, no person lives outdoors of the metro. It’s in a desert, in spite of everything. With 840,000 properties, its DMA ranking is #40.

Salt Lake Metropolis

  • 371 miles from the closest concession
  • DMA Rank: 29
  • Metro rank: 46

The MLB state of affairs in Salt Lake Metropolis seems lots like Denver within the Nineties: it is a whole bunch of miles away from the subsequent closest franchise. It additionally already helps one other Huge 4 sports activities workforce.

Nonetheless, Salt Lake Metropolis has the other drawback that Las Vegas does: DMA’s coated, however residents aren’t aggressive. Salt Lake Metropolis barely cracks the highest 50 in metro inhabitants. So why does it have the highest 30 DMA? This one’s simple: The Salt Lake Metropolis DMA location is mainly the complete state of Utah after which some, Which is humorous to have a look at on a map. Can a metropolis the scale of Salt Lake Metropolis assist an NBA and MLB franchise in attendance? that is the query.

Wild playing cards

Shock! It’s an extra fourth class. Sure, the above cities are good selections, even when a few of them have some downsides. However there are some cities that may not have appeared within the earlier metrics for numerous causes. They’re the wild playing cards of the method.

New Jersey

The New York Metropolis metro is ridiculously massive. It has 7.73 million properties and a inhabitants of practically 20 million. There are lots of folks there.

So, why New Jersey? Why a 3rd workforce within the area? Think about: With 1.775 million properties, Orlando is the most important DMA-sized metro with no sports activities workforce. The New York Metropolis metro cut up into three — one for every supported MLB workforce in our assumption — is 2.58 million properties.

Sure, the Yankees and Mets would not be completely happy to have a 3rd workforce of their yard. However for those who put a workforce in New Jersey, you may create a workforce that’s distinctive sufficient from a branding perspective. Plus, the residents enable it. Heck, the New York space really has 3 NHL groups.


Darkish horse: Montreal doesn’t seem within the record of Nielsen DMA or metro US residents as a result of it’s in Canada. Montreal may be very massive, nonetheless, with a metropolitan Montreal inhabitants of 1.76 million and a metro inhabitants north of 4.2 million. These numbers dwarf any of the cities listed (apart from the New York Metropolis part).

Plus, the truth that the Montreal Expos even existed in any respect is proof that MLB can exist there once more. What is the draw back? It is in Canada, which results in extra logistical issues in a lot of methods.


The place would you wish to see an MLB growth workforce?

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