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 Nineteen Nineties—two in 1993 and two in 1998—however a quarter-century has handed for the reason that final enlargement and MLB stays at 30 groups.

However occasions are altering. Growth into the subsequent decade is just not a query of “if” however a query of “when”. There are two essential 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 price greater than $10 billion yearly, up from $8 billion when Manfred turned commissioner. The homeowners additionally preferred Manfred’s realignment of the minor leagues in 2020, and prior to now decade, franchise scores have greater than quadrupled. Not surprisingly, billionaires would really like it, and enlargement is coming. “I might wish to get to 32 groups,” Manfred advised me.

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

That is the final query I wish to talk about, however in a barely totally different approach than I often see it mentioned: We’re bringing the scales to this, child. Realistically, the league might broaden to considered one of 10 cities and it could work. However what are the recordsdata One of the best cities By particular requirements?

So, let’s take a stab at that. The metrics we use are the dimensions 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 outstanding media analysis and viewers measurement firm, finest identified 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 america during which home tv viewership is measured by Nielsen. DMA knowledge is important for any marketer, researcher, or group in search of 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 full hours watched are dominated by tv stations within the native market. There are 210 DMAs masking the whole American continent, Hawaii, and components 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
  • DMA Dimension: 1.775 million houses

In principle, Orlando is likely one of the candidates for enlargement. It’s the solely metropolis on this checklist that ranks twenty fifth in each DMA dimension and metro inhabitants. It has heat climate and is likely one of the greatest vacationer locations within the nation because of its Disney and Common parks. Orlando can be dwelling to the NBA group, The Magic. Florida can be one of many ten quickest rising US states.

However once you get into the nitty gritty, Orlando would 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 intently 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
  • Dammam space: 1.502 million houses

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

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

metro dimension

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


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

The Charlotte metro is unobtrusively giant, in regards to the dimension of the St. Louis metro. Charlotte herself is considered one of them The quickest rising cities within the nation. Apparently, Charlotte is type of a reproduction of Kansas Metropolis: each have NFL groups and MLS groups, and so they’re each sufficiently big to personal the Cedar Honest theme park (Charlotte is even higher, and so they have an NBA group besides).

Charlotte ticks all of the bins, to be trustworthy. With a twenty first Nielsen DMA ranking, its tv viewers is as broad as metro residents. If you happen to’re in search of a nitpick, you possibly can say that just one metro space has much less TV viewership than Charlotte has three of the Massive 4 sports activities groups. However Milwaukee is doing nicely, St. Louis is doing nicely 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 group.


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

Straight behind Charlotte Slots Orlando’s World Inhabitants. Orlando’s professionals 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 could 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 dimension 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. Previously few years, the Nationwide Hockey League and the Raiders, who I refuse to imagine have left California, have picked up on me. With high 30 metro dimension and drop like One of many 5 quickest rising US cities Over the subsequent 40 years, there may be loads of purpose to imagine he might assist a baseball group.

However whereas the dimensions of Las Vegas’ inhabitants is actually sufficient to assist attendance, TV offers are an enormous supply of revenue for MLB franchises. Sadly for Las Vegas, it lags behind a number of rivals on this space as a result of, nicely, no one lives outdoors of the metro. It’s in a desert, in spite of everything. With 840,000 houses, its DMA ranking is #40.

Salt Lake Metropolis

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

The MLB scenario in Salt Lake Metropolis seems to be so much like Denver within the Nineteen Nineties: it is lots of of miles away from the subsequent closest franchise. It additionally already helps one other Massive 4 sports activities group.

Nonetheless, Salt Lake Metropolis has the alternative 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 principally the whole state of Utah after which some, Which is humorous to have a look at on a map. Can a metropolis the dimensions of Salt Lake Metropolis assist an NBA and MLB franchise in attendance? that is the query.

Wild playing cards

Shock! It’s a further 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 varied causes. They’re the wild playing cards of the method.

New Jersey

The New York Metropolis metro is ridiculously large. It has 7.73 million houses and a inhabitants of almost 20 million. There are lots of folks there.

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

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


Darkish horse: Montreal doesn’t seem within the checklist of Nielsen DMA or metro US residents as a result of it’s in Canada. Montreal is sort of large, 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 ends up in further logistical issues in a variety of methods.


The place would you wish to see an MLB enlargement group?

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