A Billionaire Wants To Put An NBA Team In St. Louis

It is not happening anytime soon.



Someone in St. Louis wants a National Basketball Association team. That someone is a billionaire named Richard Chaifetz. But putting an NBA team in St. Louis probably is not on the top of must do items that comes across Commissioner Adam Silver’s desk on a daily basis. The NBA is not expanding anytime soon and the only team owner who wants to move is Steve Ballmer who wants to leave downtown Los Angeles for a nearby place he can call his own in Inglewood where he can keep arena revenue and the Los Angeles name.  In 1999, the league blocked Bill and Nancy Laurie’s bid to buy the Vancouver Grizzlies and move the franchise to St. Louis by doing nothing and then setting up a feasibility study to see if Vancouver did indeed have e wherewithal to support a team. By biding time, the NBA forced the Lauries out. That was the last time that St. Louis was considered by NBA owners as a market.

The NBA has a collective bargaining agreement with the players through 2024 although the owners and players could opt out in 2023. The NBA Disney and now AT&T TV deal ends in 2025. It is unlikely the owners will expand during the life of the CBA and TV deals. That leaves Chaifetz with one option. Relocation.  There are no teams on the market. The owners of the New Orleans Pelicans have a lease with Louisiana through 2024. Where would St. Louis stack up in a hypothetical race between cities for an NBA team? Probably behind Seattle which will have a state of the art arena in 2021 and a much better corporate market along with a solid TV market.  Louisville has a group that wants a team. The league may look at Mexico City. But the NBA is doing nothing because it doesn’t need additional markets.

Bob Costas announced Spirits of St. louis ABA games in the 1970s.