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. Enlargement into the subsequent decade just isn’t a query of “if” however a query of “when”. There are two primary driving forces for this, though they’re each 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 grew to become commissioner. The homeowners additionally appreciated Manfred’s realignment of the minor leagues in 2020, and previously decade, franchise rankings have greater than quadrupled. Not surprisingly, billionaires would love it, and enlargement is coming. “I might prefer to get to 32 groups,” Manfred advised me.

There was lots of nice writing about when baseball would possibly develop and why baseball hasn’t expanded but and whether or not or not baseball ought to develop and what an enlargement draft would appear like within the trendy period and what cities are the candidates, properly, and so forth.

That is the final query I wish to talk about, however in a barely totally different method than I normally see it mentioned: We’re bringing the scales to this, child. Realistically, the league might develop to considered one of 10 cities and it will 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 gap 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, greatest identified for its Nielsen rankings. 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 USA wherein home tv viewership is measured by Nielsen. DMA information 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 whole hours watched are dominated by tv stations within the native market. There are 210 DMAs protecting all the American continent, Hawaii, and elements of Alaska.

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


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

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

However once 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 intently associated to the rays already. Plus, even with a pleasant new stadium and larger metro, the Miami Marlins struggled to draw crowds for thus lengthy.


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

Once more, with DMA and inhabitants figures, Sacramento would make lots 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 few of the similar issues as Orlando. It’s lower than a 100 mile drive from the present MLB crew and never two, each of that are well-established groups with lots of historical past. MLB will put a file VI Workforce in California when there are different options? It appears to be like like a stretch.

metro dimension

It’s a must to put asses within the benches, and no person places an MLB crew in a metro that may’t assist 81 video games a yr. Metro dimension is an enormous deal. We use a Metropolitan Statistical Space (MSA) on the discretion of the USA Census Bureau It may be simply seen on Wikipedia.


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

The Charlotte metro is unobtrusively giant, concerning the dimension of the St. Louis metro. Charlotte herself is considered one of them The quickest rising cities within the nation. Curiously, Charlotte is form of a duplicate of Kansas Metropolis: each have NFL groups and MLS groups, and so they’re each large enough to personal the Cedar Truthful theme park (Charlotte is even higher, and so they have an NBA crew in addition).

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. In the event you’re in search of a nitpick, you might say that just one metro space has much less TV viewership than Charlotte has three of the Large 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 planet that KC can assist an NBA or NHL crew.


  • 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 look at baseball video games, however acts as a barrier to the fanbase. Now, it will be simple to decide on Plentywood, Montana, Grass Creek, Wyoming, or one other small city in the midst of nowhere. However we’re being rational right here and limiting decisions 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 planet 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’s loads of motive to imagine he might assist a baseball crew.

However whereas the scale of Las Vegas’ inhabitants is definitely 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, properly, no person lives exterior of the metro. It’s in a desert, in any case. 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 appears to be like rather a lot like Denver within the Nineteen Nineties: it is lots of of miles away from the subsequent closest franchise. It additionally already helps one other Large 4 sports activities crew.

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 all the state of Utah after which some, Which is humorous to take 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 a further fourth class. Sure, the above cities are good decisions, even when a few of them have some downsides. However there are some cities that might 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 huge. It has 7.73 million properties and a inhabitants of practically 20 million. There are a lot of folks there.

So, why New Jersey? Why a 3rd crew within the area? Contemplate: With 1.775 million properties, Orlando is the biggest DMA-sized metro with out a sports activities crew. The New York Metropolis metro cut up into three — one for every supported MLB crew in our assumption — is 2.58 million properties.

Sure, the Yankees and Mets would not be pleased to have a 3rd crew of their yard. However in the event you put a crew in New Jersey, you’ll be able to create a crew that’s distinctive sufficient from a branding perspective. Plus, the residents permit it. Heck, the New York space truly 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 huge, 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 (aside 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 extra logistical issues in plenty of methods.


The place would you prefer to see an MLB enlargement crew?

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