The Carolinas have a rich sports history. Whether it’s Clemson football dominating the college football world, or the Carolina Panthers reaching a Super Bowl a few years ago, you can bring up several memorable sports moments for the area.
However, one thing that is very surprising is that the city of Charlotte does not have an MLB team. Today we will look at the reasons why Charlotte should be the next city to join the Majors.
The first thing we will talk about is the growth of the city. Between 2010 and 2017 the city grew by 13%, with a population of just under 2.7 million people.
That number puts them at 20th in the nation. This gives Charlotte the opportunity to have high attendance numbers for its AAA affiliate the Knights.
The city can handle an additional pro sports team
You already have the groundwork for an MLB team to play in the city. There would be two options for Charlotte: expand the AAA stadium to make it suitable for MLB stadium dimensions or build a new stadium from the ground up.
Building a new stadium would cause major grief in the city due to tax increases, but that may be overlooked once the baseball season officially got underway.
We have also seen Charlotte handle major sporting events, most recently the 2019 NBA all-star game. This was a huge step in the right direction for the city, after a lot of negative feedback over laws that affected the NCAA and ACC basketball tournaments from holding events in the city in the future.
The market is open
There are three main teams taking up the baseball market in Charlotte. The Baltimore Orioles, Atlanta Braves, and Washington Nationals. This would be an excellent opportunity for a smart marketing team to create buzz and change fan loyalty based solely on location.
The MLB would still have major competition from the NBA (although Charlotte should slide back down to the Eastern Conference standings), the NFL, and NASCAR.
Of those three, the NFL is the largest threat and it could take time before the MLB expansion team took a big chunk out of the overall market.
Potential drawbacks of an MLB expansion team
The first drawback is, compared to other teams in the MLB, Charlotte would be considered a small market. Milwaukee won the NL Central last year and didn’t make the league’s top-10 in revenue generated, while San Francisco (a 73-win team) finished in the top-five.
This could make some potential ownership groups leery, as the return on investment may not be as immediate as they would hope.
The other big drawback will be the quality of players on the team. No one wants to go see a team that’s capable of 50 wins in a 162-game season, and outside of the Las Vegas Knights making the Stanley Cup in 2018, expansion teams generally don’t have a good breakout season.
By comparison, the last team to enter the league through expansion, the Arizona Diamondbacks in 1998, won 65 games.
When could we see the next MLB expansion city chosen?
There are a few teams on the potential expansion list, including Portland, Las Vegas and Montreal. Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred would like an even number of 32 teams, but a team can’t be created without approval from 75% of current league ownership.
Charlotte has a good chance to make the list so we will have to see how things progress over the next few months.