Franchise Relocation Roulette
The NFL has seen three franchises relocate in the past year. The St. Louis Rams and San Diego Chargers both moved to Los Angeles. Two days ago, the NFL owners voted 31-1 in favor of the Oakland Raiders moving to Las Vegas.
One of the main reasons teams end up relocating is stadium troubles. The Raiders could not work out a solution with the city of Oakland which led to them looking for greener pastures. Sports is still a business and owners will do whatever is necessary to keep their business successful.
Another reason a team might locate is attendance. Owners are willing to move if they believe there is more money to be made elsewhere.
There are other franchises who may be looking to relocate their team across all major sports and this article will take a look at which franchises may be relocating sooner rather than later.
Arizona Coyotes: The Coyotes have been rumored to be relocating a few times. Before Las Vegas was awarded an expansion team the Coyotes were considering moving to Vegas. Arizona has the second worst attendance average in the NHL with 13,020 fans per game.
The Gila River Arena in which they play in was built in 2003. 2003 wasn’t that long ago but with the attendance issue, the Coyotes could find more success in other another city.
The Coyotes have had little success on the ice as well, finishing ninth or worse in the Western Conference going on five straight years. The Coyotes could use a fresh start.
Carolina Hurricanes: The Hurricanes are in the same boat as the Coyotes. They rank last in the NHL in attendance with an average of 11,778 fans per home game. Their arena was built in 1999 and they definitely need a new one. The Hurricanes haven’t made the playoffs for eight straight seasons and only once in the last 11 seasons. A change of scenery is something the Hurricanes franchise needs.
Both the Hurricanes and Coyotes could be open to moving to the following cities: Quebec City, Toronto, Seattle, Houston, Kansas City, Hamilton and Indianapolis. If the NHL decides to relocate these are the two most likely franchises to move.
Tampa Bay: Tampa Bay is a city where a lot of people move to retire. The Rays attendance is the worst in the majors, based on average, with just 15,878 fans per game. The franchise has had the worst attendance in the majors since 2012 and the attendance has dropped significantly every year.
Tropicana Field is also almost 30 years old as it was built in 1990. Fans are not going to watch the Rays and their field is getting old.
Oakland: The Athletics play on the same field as the Raiders. Golden State couldn’t get a stadium built in Oakland so they got one built in San Fransisco. The Athletics are now in the same boat. Oakland Coliseum opened in 1966 and players have mentioned water leaks in the locker rooms when it rains. It is clear this stadium is one of the worst in the country.
The Athletics have also had some of the worst attendance numbers in the past decade similar to the Rays. Due to the stadium issues in Oakland and the lack of attendance, the A’s may be on the move soon.
Possible relocation cities could include Las Vegas, Mexico City, Montreal, or Vancouver.
Buffalo Bills: There has been so much relocation as of late in the NFL it is hard to imagine anybody else moving cities. Buffalo is one franchise with a slim chance to relocate. Ralph Wilson Stadium was built in 1973 making it out of date. The city of Buffalo needs to handle this situation with the Bills better than Oakland did with the Raiders or the beloved Bills will find the best option for the franchise.
Possible relocation cities include Portland, St. Louis, Toronto, or Mexico City.
Milwaukee: The Bucks are usually in the bottom of the NBA when it comes to attendance. They have averaged 14,839 fans per game over the last five years. Their attendance has steadily improved as the team has improved but there is a chance owners think they do better elsewhere.
BMO Harris Bradley Center is 29 years old and needs to be upgraded for modern times. If another city gives the Bucks an offer they can’t refuse they will relocate.
With all that said the fans in the Milwaukee area are extremely passionate and it is hard to imagine them actually moving cities.
“From Our Haus to Yours”