Photo of downtown Charlotte, North Carolina.

Image Credit: James Willamor (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Major League Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred recently confirmed that league officials were monitoring the NFL and NHL’s successes in Las Vegas, Nevada very closely. Earlier this week, Manfred was once again asked whether Major League Baseball would be expanding and adding additional teams in the near future. Manfred confirmed that the league would like to expand but it’s not in their immediate plans. He went on to add that Montreal, Mexico City and Charlotte are the most attractive candidates for an MLB team at the moment. However, before the league could expand, both the Oakland Athletics and Tampa Bay Rays would need to get new home ballparks built.

Panorama of Oakland Coliseum. Home of the Oakland Athletics.

Image Credit: Redlegsfan21/Flickr (CC BY-SA 2.0)

The Oakland Athletics have narrowed their future stadium site down to three locations in the Bay Area. However, funding seems to be the team’s largest hurdle with a fan base that’s already strapped for cash. The Tampa Bay Rays organization are in practically the same situation. The Rays also can’t decide whether to build a new ballpark in suburban St. Petersburg, Florida (where the Rays currently play their home games) or to build in bustling Tampa Bay. Oakland Coliseum and Tropicana Field are widely considered two of the worst ballparks in Major League Baseball.

Montreal, Quebec is the city that’s been the most vocal about their desire for a Major League Baseball team. After failing to secure the funds needed to build a new stadium for the Expos, the team relocated to our nation’s capital in 2005 where they now play as the Washington Nationals. Montreal has even tried to lure the Tampa Bay Rays north of the border in recent years.

Photo of downtown Mexico City.

Image Credit: Lars Plougmann (CC BY-SA 2.0)

Mexico City is a major city of almost 9 million people that certainly has the population to support a Major League Baseball team. Would the city purchase the club seating and suites that a Major League Baseball team needs to thrive today? Is the city be an ideal long-term fit for the league? Would players enjoy living and playing in Mexico City? We’re skeptical.

Charlotte, North Carolina already has a minor-league baseball team with a brand new downtown stadium. In fact, the Charlotte Knights (triple-A affiliate of the Chicago White Sox), boast some of the strongest attendance numbers in all of Minor League Baseball. However, the Charlotte Observer has confirmed that BB&T Ballpark could not be expanded to meet Major League Baseball standards. Therefore, the city would need to build a new ballpark for the Major League team as well. The presence of a Major League Baseball team would also dampen the draw of one of Minor League Baseball’s highest grossing franchises.

We’re surprised cities such as Nashville (TN), Salt Lake City (UT) and Portland (OR) aren’t seen as potential suitors for a Major League Baseball team. Only time will tell which cities the MLB expands to. It’s been nearly 20 years since the league last expanded with the addition of the Arizona Diamondbacks and Tampa Bay Rays in 1998. As each team’s annual revenue streams continue to grow as they have been, expanding to other cities only makes sense.




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