Author Topic: Expansion cities (breakout from former nats thread)  (Read 7291 times)

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Offline MarquisDeSade

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here are the hardball times articles that I mentioned.

First, explaining the methodology:
http://www.hardballtimes.com/examining-potential-mlb-expansion-cities-part-1/
There's explanations for each of these factors in the article.  The caveat with older populations is that cities with more 65+ fans do well on TV but worse on live gate.  Hello, Tampa Bay.

The second article focuses on US cities without teams currently first, then discusses NYC/LA/CHI, and also international cities.
http://www.hardballtimes.com/examining-potential-mlb-expansion-cities-part-2/
Top 5 are San Jose, by a lot, then Vegas, Austin, Sacramento, and Providence.  He throws in the reality check of how the minor league teams draw. 

San Jose has it all.  But for the Giants blocking the city, it is ideal in almost all respects.  Overeducated is the main drawback. 
Vegas is heavily male, warm, and populous, but reality is that there may be too many distractions.   Austin does very well, and I think is the most interesting city that is not usually talked about.  Round Rock draws very well, Austin is one of 3 cities > 50% male (the others are #1 and #2), lots of money floating around, climate, and older but < 65.  Sac'to is something of a surprise because it is never mentioned as an alternative to San Jose.  In addition to the demographics, the River Cats are a great draw.  This could be an alternative landing spot for the As if San jose is not feasible. Providence is just a weird result, but it gets helped in part because median age is 39+ and it is, to say it directly, very white. 

There are some nice critiques of the analysis in the comments.  Many point to Charlotte as being close to a number of population centers outside the MSA.  Providence might be a result that should lead to skepticism about the methodology.  That said, the skepticism about some cities like Indy and Portland is interesting, and flagging Austin I think is a nice bit of sifting data to come up with an option that should get some attention.

Austin isn't getting an MLB team for a number of reasons (TV deals, Longhorns foozball and basketball) but one of the main ones is that the development in Austin is very heavily favored towards private funding and there is no way they're going to hand out an MLB stadium using tax payer money after the Barves and Marlins messes.  San Jose isn't happening and neither is Sacramento (they can't even keep the Kings from threatening to move).  I also can't imagine the Red Sox being particularly happy if an MLB team sprung up less than 50 miles away, much less all of the lifelong Red Sox fans that live there, can you?

Vegas isn't getting a team for what should be obvious reasons and, besides, who the hell would want to live and play there?  I've been in drunk tank holding cells that are more appealing than Las Vegas and that's not even mentioning the hell that is the strip or North Las Vegas.  Indianapolis would be a hard sell since there's little to influx of "hip young overpaid" people flocking there but Portland has the rejects from Seattle and SF flocking there in droves and, minus the weather, is the ideal place to plant the seeds for a new franchise. 

I sometimes wonder if the people that write these articles have even visited the cities or if they're just keyboard commandos using data to support a narrative.  If you're going to move a team or expand the league you have to go somewhere that you've got future generations of fans, not the current MLB fan either - the future fans.  Without them good luck keeping a team.  I've said this before and I'll say it again - MLB is going to have a problem if they don't get young families more interested and involved in baseball.  Sure, there are plenty of Latin American players to fill out the rosters but as the "Greatest Generation" dies off who is going to replace the audience and fans?  If soccer in the US ever gets beyond the "wash-ups and prospects" level that MLS is currently MLB will be screwed. 

Offline HalfSmokes

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I doubt either boston or the NY teams would allow it, but I wonder about Hartford- New England seems to care about baseball more than any other region (Everyone I've known from CT seems to be a baseball fan) and either Fenway or the NY stadiums are a nag to get to from there.

Offline MarquisDeSade

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I doubt either boston or the NY teams would allow it, but I wonder about Hartford- New England seems to care about baseball more than any other region (Everyone I've known from CT seems to be a baseball fan) and either Fenway or the NY stadiums are a nag to get to from there.

If the majority were Mets fan I could see them being all over it.  I just don't see MLB moving a team to a city that's in the heart of one or multiple teams current TV markets, hence why Portland makes sense.  Charlotte is in Barves/Nats territory and Nashville is definitely in Barves country.  If you look at the MLB TV blackout map Vegas is in multiple TV markets (good luck getting MLB TV to work for a west coast team if you're in that hellhole on business) but Portland is in Mariners and Giants territory but taking it out wouldn't have a significant impact on either team's TV revenue.

Offline JCA-CrystalCity

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Frankly, I kind of don't like the analyses that rely on how white a city is.  We all know that has been a factor since the Griffiths moved out of DC, but I have to believe that if money were less tied to race and ethnicity in this country, suburban African Americans and Latinos would be as likely or more likely to support attendance as anyone else living in area where kids play the game.  Maybe the great number of successful African Americans in hoops and football makes suburban African American kids gravitate towards those games for the past 40 or so years, but there is no shortage of Caribbean and Latin American players in MLB now for kids to look up to.  I know that if this guy is competent at regression he's corrected for income, but I would think that if Manfred is a visionary, then he'd view that as a challenge and not a negative.

The issue you raise about Austin, stadium financing, might be why MLB may not want to give them a team and may be why Portland lines up ahead of Austin, but it has nothing to do with how well a team could draw and attract followers.  Austin also brings San Antonio on the weekends, at least.  It is a separate MSA, but if you look at drive times for Charlotte, you also have to count that in Austin's favor.

As for Sacramento, it would only get a team if Oakland moved away from SF, which you would think SF might like.  Sacramento is more Oakland's territory, almost as much as San Jose is SF.  Doesn't it more naturally draw from the east side and north of the Bay than SF?  Seems more viable than San Jose.

Offline houston-nat

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Count me among the Portland cynics. Portland's history with baseball is pretty bad: very very recently, they didn't even have a minor-league team. Now they have a short-season single A team, the Hillsboro Hops, and their single-A team has lower attendance than the teams in Vancouver and Spokane.

Austin could work. The demographics are right, and the city is loaded with cash. Need corporate sponsors to buy a ton of luxury boxes? Austin has that down. And the "can Texas have a third team?" question is kind of misguided because Texas is freaking huge. California has five teams; we could manage three.

BUT Austin and Portland share an issue, which is...do yuppies and hipsters really love baseball? Is that something we can just assume? Is the Portlandia crowd all gonna come out and support a ballclub? What about UT kids?

I would still rank Austin pretty high on my list of places to put baseball, which is:
Brooklyn
San Jose
Austin
Vancouver

Offline MarquisDeSade

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Count me among the Portland cynics. Portland's history with baseball is pretty bad: very very recently, they didn't even have a minor-league team. Now they have a short-season single A team, the Hillsboro Hops, and their single-A team has lower attendance than the teams in Vancouver and Spokane.

Portland has some of the most depressing weather in the US.  They'd have to get a retractable roof like Seattle for it to work.  The Jailblazers and their MLS team do insanely well though so they could be like DC - give them a decent product and people will show up to be seen.

Austin could work. The demographics are right, and the city is loaded with cash. Need corporate sponsors to buy a ton of luxury boxes? Austin has that down. And the "can Texas have a third team?" question is kind of misguided because Texas is freaking huge. California has five teams; we could manage three.

But are they going to get public funding for a new stadium?  When it comes down to "would we prefer to collect immediate tax revenue from a mixed use building that's going to have <20% vacancy and steady annuity stream for years to come" vs "we give TEAM X >65% of the funding for a new stadium that's not going to get paid back for 20 years and, by definition, is always going to be at <30% capacity" I don't see too many people eager to take the latter.

BUT Austin and Portland share an issue, which is...do yuppies and hipsters really love baseball? Is that something we can just assume? Is the Portlandia crowd all gonna come out and support a ballclub? What about UT kids?


The question should really be - do yuppies and hipster, at some point, have kids that are involved in sports? 

Offline MarquisDeSade

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Frankly, I kind of don't like the analyses that rely on how white a city is.  We all know that has been a factor since the Griffiths moved out of DC, but I have to believe that if money were less tied to race and ethnicity in this country, suburban African Americans and Latinos would be as likely or more likely to support attendance as anyone else living in area where kids play the game.  Maybe the great number of successful African Americans in hoops and football makes suburban African American kids gravitate towards those games for the past 40 or so years, but there is no shortage of Caribbean and Latin American players in MLB now for kids to look up to.  I know that if this guy is competent at regression he's corrected for income, but I would think that if Manfred is a visionary, then he'd view that as a challenge and not a negative.

You can throw everything he did in the trash the second he trotted out "whiteness". Anyone with any sense knows you NEVER, under any circumstance that doesn't involve writing for a racist organization, ever use race as an independent variable or as a basis for data selection. 

Offline blue911

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Frankly, I kind of don't like the analyses that rely on how white a city is.  We all know that has been a factor since the Griffiths moved out of DC, but I have to believe that if money were less tied to race and ethnicity in this country, suburban African Americans and Latinos would be as likely or more likely to support attendance as anyone else living in area where kids play the game.  Maybe the great number of successful African Americans in hoops and football makes suburban African American kids gravitate towards those games for the past 40 or so years, but there is no shortage of Caribbean and Latin American players in MLB now for kids to look up to.  I know that if this guy is competent at regression he's corrected for income, but I would think that if Manfred is a visionary, then he'd view that as a challenge and not a negative./quote]

You can throw everything he did in the trash the second he trotted out "whiteness". Anyone with any sense knows you NEVER, under any circumstance that doesn't involve writing for a racist organization, ever use race as an independent variable or as a basis for data selection.

Especially when what you want to look at is suburban middle class.

Offline houston-nat

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You can throw everything he did in the trash the second he trotted out "whiteness". Anyone with any sense knows you NEVER, under any circumstance that doesn't involve writing for a racist organization, ever use race as an independent variable or as a basis for data selection. 
Uhh...really? Would you say it's racist to consider whiteness when you were choosing a new Starbucks location?

Offline blue911

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Uhh...really? Would you say it's racist to consider whiteness when you were choosing a new Starbucks location?

I thought the demographic for a Starbucks/coffee/tea shop was urban professional.

Offline HalfSmokes

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Uhh...really? Would you say it's racist to consider whiteness when you were choosing a new Starbucks location?


Online KnorrForYourMoney

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But are they going to get public funding for a new stadium?  When it comes down to "would we prefer to collect immediate tax revenue from a mixed use building that's going to have <20% vacancy and steady annuity stream for years to come" vs "we give TEAM X >65% of the funding for a new stadium that's not going to get paid back for 20 years and, by definition, is always going to be at <30% capacity" I don't see too many people eager to take the latter.

Eh, that's a bit of a false dilemma since most mixed-use development these days comes with tax deferrals.  I agree with you that they wouldn't publicly finance a stadium, though.

Online KnorrForYourMoney

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Especially when what you want to look at is suburban middle class.

PG County/Southern Maryland has a pretty sizeable black suburban middle class, and yet the southern end of the Green Line/eastern side of the Blue Line are always bereft of people in Nats gear on gameday.

I don't think it's racist to look at race here.  It's an undeniable fact that ethnic groups tend to share cultural traditions.  It just so happens that attending baseball games and attending/following hockey are not common activities in the black community throughout most of America.

Offline whytev

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Count me among the Portland cynics. Portland's history with baseball is pretty bad: very very recently, they didn't even have a minor-league team. Now they have a short-season single A team, the Hillsboro Hops, and their single-A team has lower attendance than the teams in Vancouver and Spokane.

Austin could work. The demographics are right, and the city is loaded with cash. Need corporate sponsors to buy a ton of luxury boxes? Austin has that down. And the "can Texas have a third team?" question is kind of misguided because Texas is freaking huge. California has five teams; we could manage three.

BUT Austin and Portland share an issue, which is...do yuppies and hipsters really love baseball? Is that something we can just assume? Is the Portlandia crowd all gonna come out and support a ballclub? What about UT kids?

I would still rank Austin pretty high on my list of places to put baseball, which is:
Brooklyn
San Jose
Austin
Vancouver

The thing about Vancouver, is we won three straight championships in that league. Opening day is sold out an hour before the game every year. Last year I went to the first playoff game last minute and walked right in. No lineups. I know it's just single A, but people love a winner, and if you win three championships in a row, playoff tickets should not be available that readily. freak this Canucks loving town. If we get a team, it will tank faster than you can say Big Country Reeves.

Offline whytev

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Uhh...really? Would you say it's racist to consider whiteness when you were choosing a new Starbucks location?

I can attest that these demographic studies happen in business discussions all the time. When it strictly has to do with buying habits, I don't see it as racist. Old people like Denny's, Asian-Canadians like Starbucks, teenagers like Tim Horton's, and white hipsters like my company. It's not something we have any control of, and it's only a trend, but it makes sense to at least acknowledge it before you mis-invest a bunch of money.

Offline whytev

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PG County/Southern Maryland has a pretty sizeable black suburban middle class, and yet the southern end of the Green Line/eastern side of the Blue Line are always bereft of people in Nats gear on gameday.

I don't think it's racist to look at race here.  It's an undeniable fact that ethnic groups tend to share cultural traditions.  It just so happens that attending baseball games and attending/following hockey are not common activities in the black community throughout most of America.

*Anymore.

It used to be that more black people were obsessed with baseball.

Offline welch

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I'll let HoustonNat chime in on that since he has lived in Houston and Dallas.  One thing a commenter points out about Austin is that it is a UT sports town and may not be pro-oriented.  They have a huge college baseball tradition in Austin and in Texas generally.  I could imagine guys like Clemens might find it appealing to play for the Lake Travis Tritts, or whatever they would be called.

- My kids were stationed near Austin a few years ago. I remember it as hip, artsy, great music, young, great night life, international (we drove to Austin to see Glasgow Celtic with at a bar full of grad students and professors), hot, devoted to University of Texas football when people bothered with sports. And hot...99 degrees about 11pm in August. Two towns inside one "standard metropolitan statistical area" (SMESA was the acronym when I studied urban economics a long time ago).

- New York could easily handle a third (really, a second) MLB team. The Mets have no following. The city supported three MLB teams for a long time. One problem is geography: the Hudson is wider than the Potomac, New York Bay is huge, Manhattan is central but land is worth more as luxury condos; it's not so easy for people in, say, New Jersey to get to Brooklyn.

- Philadelphia: would be interesting if the A's moved home.

- Tampa ought to move to Montreal. Did the Expos draw respectably before Loria destroyed the team?

Offline UMDNats

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Count me among the Portland cynics. Portland's history with baseball is pretty bad: very very recently, they didn't even have a minor-league team. Now they have a short-season single A team, the Hillsboro Hops, and their single-A team has lower attendance than the teams in Vancouver and Spokane.

Austin could work. The demographics are right, and the city is loaded with cash. Need corporate sponsors to buy a ton of luxury boxes? Austin has that down. And the "can Texas have a third team?" question is kind of misguided because Texas is freaking huge. California has five teams; we could manage three.

BUT Austin and Portland share an issue, which is...do yuppies and hipsters really love baseball? Is that something we can just assume? Is the Portlandia crowd all gonna come out and support a ballclub? What about UT kids?

I would still rank Austin pretty high on my list of places to put baseball, which is:
Brooklyn
San Jose
Austin
Vancouver

i'd put money on brooklyn never getting a team again.

Online mitlen

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i'd put money on brooklyn never getting a team again.

I never thought they'd see hockey.

Offline UMDNats

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I never thought they'd see hockey.

You think the Yankees and Mets would let another  team take a chunk of their fanbases and television market? This is 2015. Angelos kicked and screamed when the Nats moved to DC and the Giants are blocking Oakland from moving.

But sure, MLB will totally fight the Steinbrenners and Wilpons!

Online mitlen

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You think the Yankees and Mets would let another  team take a chunk of their fanbases and television market? This is 2015. Angelos kicked and screamed when the Nats moved to DC and the Giants are blocking Oakland from moving.

But sure, MLB will totally fight the Steinbrenners and Wilpons!

It's about the money.    If the other teams think they can make money off Brooklyn, it'll happen.    Same as DC.    MLB is worse than Survivor.

Offline UMDNats

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It's about the money.    If the other teams think they can make money off Brooklyn, it'll happen.    Same as DC.    MLB is worse than Survivor.

Sure, but you'll have both teams arguing that they already have the market and honestly I don't see any logical place to a stadium in Brooklyn right now. A Brooklyn team would destroy the Mets. Don't see it.

Online mitlen

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Sure, but you'll have both teams arguing that they already have the market and honestly I don't see any logical place to a stadium in Brooklyn right now. A Brooklyn team would destroy the Mets. Don't see it.

They only have 2 votes.    I understand what you're sayin' but I'm a firm believer that it's always about the money.

Offline HalfSmokes

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They only have 2 votes.    I understand what you're sayin' but I'm a firm believer that it's always about the money.

They own the rights to the territory

Offline Kevrock

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If Brooklyn gets a team MLB needs to force LA to give up their team name.