Are Any Cities Ready For An MLB Expansion Franchise?


All the candidates need stadiums.

If Major League Baseball does take a vote in November to give Oakland Athletics’ owner John Fisher permission to move to Las Vegas, does that mean MLB expansion is next? The short answer. No. Commissioner Rob Manfred has said that the business would only add teams once stadium situations in Oakland and St. Petersburg were resolved. But there seems to be a plan to eventually expand. Manfred has named cities that could qualify for expansion including in no particular order, Nashville, Montréal, Charlotte, Austin, Portland, Vancouver and Salt Lake City. None of those cities have a stadium funding plan in place. Nashville has been spending on sports facilities including a soccer stadium and a football venue. Tennessee has been pouring money into sports facilities around the state. Do Nashville and Tennessee politicians have money available for an MLB franchise because owners don’t spend their own money without government support whether it is outright funding for a building or other mechanisms such as payment in lieu of taxes, or creating a special stadium or arena tax districts where sales tax and other taxes go back to the sports owner instead of the municipality.

Montréal did not put-up money for a stadium in the 1990s and MLB moved the Expos out of the area in 2004. Charlotte is throwing money into the local NBA arena and the National Football League’s Carolina Panthers franchise owner David Tepper wants a new stadium for his business which means North Carolina politicians will be asked for public funds for Tepper’s business. Salt Lake City politicians and business leaders want the 2030 or 2034 Winter Olympics and public money will be needed for that venture. Oakland could also be on the expansion list if Fisher departs. All Oakland would need is an owner and a baseball stadium just like all the other markets.

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Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred (Curtis Compton/Atlanta Journal-Constitution via AP)